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|06-03-03: Celina's sewer rate to rise 24%
|Some electrical rates also likely to increase
By SEAN RICE
The Daily Standard
While some things may be out of the hands of Celina City Council
members, the cost of everyday utilities is going up, for everyone.
Council finalized a sewer rate increase Monday night, learned of a
costly, federally mandated water study and an Adelphia cable rate hike, and took the first
steps toward an electric rate change.
While electric rates may not change for everyone, the cost for those
far from the city limits may increase, while the big-time users' cost may decrease.
Council members passed the first reading of an ordinance that hires Sawvel &
Associates Inc., Findlay, to conduct a cost of service and rate design study.
Safety-Service Director Mike Sovinski said the study will cost no more
than $26,000 and will come up with the actual cost to the city of providing electric
service to the 7,000 households the city serves in and around Celina. The information will
be used to determine where increases and decreases will be needed.
Councilman Denny Smith said council in the past has arbitrarily added a
5 percent increase to customers outside the city limits.
"This will address the true cost of service," he said.
The cost of flushing the toilet will increase with next month's bill,
because council members had the final reading of an ordinance raising sewer rates by 24
percent during two years. Bills will increase 12 percent with the next bill and increase
another 12 percent next year.
Council members had no discussion on the sewer rates Monday night, but
in the past rationalized the need to boost the wastewater department because it barely
breaks even year to year. No funds now go toward capital improvements.
The level of funds heading to Adelphia for residential cable television
is increasing with a rate hike, while the quality of service continues to decrease,
council members said.
Councilman Rick Bachelor said the "wonderful news" is
included in the June bill. The new rate for basic service will be $40.79, Bachelor said,
as he read off the increases.
"Not only are the rates going up, but the quality of service is
going down," councilwoman Angie King said. "Channel two isn't even worth
Council members also were sarcastically excited about a federal
mandated study into the vulnerability of the city's water system, as part of the
president's Homeland Security Act.
Members balked at the study, which is due in a year and could cost
$24,000, because the city soon will make major changes to the water treatment system under
an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency mandate. The options before the city range from an
entirely new plant in a different location served by well water, to improvements to the
current plant and sticking with lake water.
"And what if we don't do it, are they going to shut us down and
make us buy bottled water?" Bachelor asked water superintendent Mike Sudman.
"Fines," Sudman answered.
"Are they less than $24,000?" Bachelor quipped, drawing
laughter. In other business, council members:
- Passed the first reading of an ordinance changing the zoning for a
section of the Westlake Development land off West Bank Road from residential to general
business. The strip of land will be the new home of Romer's Entertainment Facility and
Catering if the change is approved by the planning commission and council.
- Set a safety committee meeting for 8 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the
fire contract with Jefferson Township.
- Set a personnel and finance committee meeting for noon Wednesday to
discuss replacing Dave Schmidt, who retired from his position as director of
- Set a utilities committee meeting for noon June 12 to discuss the
mandated water system vulnerability study.
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The Standard Printing
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH