Rocky Fork Enterprise

Gahanna City Council

Trash, water rates likely to rise in 2013

By

Gahanna residents should expect to pay a slight increase for trash service and water and sewer in 2013.

Gahanna City Council on Nov. 5 is expected to approve the trash increase, amounting to an additional 15 cents per month, by an emergency measure.

Service director Dottie Franey requested the fast-track legislation because the city bills for refuse collection in advance and she needs the 2013 rates to be in place for November bills.

The 15-cent increase would take curbside service from $17.24 to $17.39 monthly and carryout service from $25.19 to $25.34 monthly.

Carryout is a service through which residents leave their trash cans beside their houses and Rumpke walks up the driveway to retrieve them, Franey said.

Gahanna currently has 31 households using the carryout service.

"If they are handicapped and produce documentation from their doctor that they cannot take trash to the curb, they can receive carryout service at the curbside rate," Franey said.

Franey said the city participates in a solid-waste consortium that includes 10 communities (including Dublin, New Albany and some townships), and the consortium is in the fourth year of a five-year contract with Rumpke, with an option to renew for two additional years.

The contract sets the base prices for curbside and carryout of $15.89 per month and $23.84 for the first five years of the contract; however, tipping fees could and have been increased twice by the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio over the past two years.

A clause in the contract also allows for increased fuel surcharges based on diesel fuel prices.

Franey said Rumpke has implemented an additional fuel surcharge, which is the reason Gahanna plans to raise rates 15 cents per month.

During a recent committee meeting, council member Stephen Renner said he opposes the fuel surcharge and asked if it ever goes down.

"No, it doesn't," Franey said.

She said the benefit of a five-year contract is that is locks in the base price for five years.

Franey said Gahanna is a Master Meter community, meaning the city purchases water and sewer treatment from the city of Columbus.

When Columbus increases its water and sanitary-sewer rates, it affects all master-meter communities, including Gahanna.

After incorporating Columbus' increases into the city's rate structure, Franey said, Gahanna needs to increase its water and sewer rates by a net 3.3 percent.

Franey has recommended the following water and sewer rates, based on expected expenses and revenues and on 2012 rates:

* Water operational rate: $6.68/1,000 gallons (was $6.42/1,000 gallons in 2012).

* Water capital improvement rate: 59 cents/1,000 gallons (was the same rate in 2012).

* Sanitary-sewer operational rate: $5.18/1,000 gallons (was $5.03/1,000 gallons in 2012).

* Sanitary-sewer capital improvement rate: 35 cents/1,000 gallons (was the same rate in 2012).

Based on the water and sewer operational rate increases, Franey said, the average minimum quarterly bill for a household of one is estimated to increase from $107.33 to $110.01; for two people, from $144.50 to $148.41; for three people, from $293.18 to $302.01; for four people, from $367.52 to $378.81; for five people, from $441.86 to $455.61; and for six people, from $516.20 to $532.41.

Franey said Columbus continues to offer a pass-through discount of 20 percent for low-income residents and senior citizens and a credit on water and sanitary sewer for low-income residents. The 2013 credit amount for qualifying senior residents is estimated to be $28.38 in 2013, compared to $27.50 in 2012.

Comments