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06-03-03: Celina's sewer rate to rise 24%
Some electrical rates also likely to increase

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 watching anymore."
    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 administrative services.
    - Set a utilities committee meeting for noon June 12 to discuss the mandated water system vulnerability study.


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822