Canal Winchester officials are considering a change to city law that would keep 3-percent annual increases for water use and wastewater capacity charges from going into effect automatically.
Canal Winchester City Council heard the first reading Nov. 18 of amendments to the ordinances. A second reading was scheduled Dec. 2, after the press deadline for ThisWeek Canal Winchester Times.
Public Works Director Matt Peoples, who wants to do away with the automatic increases, suggested the changes.
"This is an update of the capacity charges," he said. "These are not increases to the charges, though.
"We set an automatic annual 3-percent increase in 2005 and those charges are starting to be noncompetitive with other communities, so instead of an automatic increase, we'd like to be able to set an up-to-3-percent increase."
According to Peoples, the current wastewater fund balance is healthy enough that he believes the automatic 3-percent increase is unnecessary.
He said if the fees continue to increase at that rate, it could deter businesses and residents from moving to Canal Winchester.
"If we continue having healthy fund balances, we won't need any increase," Peoples said.
Beyond the automatic increases for wastewater, there is currently a separate set of rates for the Sycamore Creek subdivision, which will be removed to normalize those properties with the rest of the city and, according to Peoples, remove any potential duplication of rates.
As for water use charges, Peoples is still recommending the annual 3-percent increase for the coming year, although he also asked that the ordinance be amended so this increase is not automatic.
"On the water usage side of things, there will need to be an increase of 3 percent because the fund balances are not to where we're comfortable that they're sustainable," he said.
"Even with the increase, we're still very competitive," Peoples said. "We just want to make the change so it's not automatically going to continue to increase going forward."