Gahanna residents should expect to pay a little more for water and sewer beginning in January.
Gahanna City Council is considering a 3.9-percent increase for 2014 water and sewer rates, based on expected expenses and revenues.
City service director Dottie Franey recently told council committee members the city is a master-meter community, which means Gahanna purchases water and sewer treatment from the city of Columbus.
When Columbus increases water and sewer rates, it affects all master-meter communities, including Gahanna.
After incorporating Columbus' increases into the city rate structure, Franey said, Gahanna will need to increase its water/sewer rates by a net 3.9 percent.
The average quarterly bill is expected to increase from $148.41 to $151.41 for a single resident; from $225.21 to $231.21 for two; from $302.01 to $311.01 for a family of three; from $378.81 to $390.81 for a family of four; from $455.61 to $470.61 for a family of five; and from $532.41 to $550.41 for a family of six.
Franey said Columbus has allowed Gahanna to pass on a 20-percent low-income discount on the water and sewer charges, and still will be in effect for 2014. Customers need to reapply for that discount annually in January to keep it on their accounts, she said.
A low-income senior citizen discount that has been provided in the past, however, will discontinue.
"I think it was passed through to Gahanna years ago without thinking it through," Franey said. "What they were passing through was their service charge. They were waiving that for senior low income. Now they aren't going to waive that on satellite communities."
Mayor Becky Stinchcomb said it's unfortunate that's being discontinued because some Gahanna seniors used that discount.
Franey said the senior credit was a fixed amount off their bill. The 2013 amount was $28.56. She said the seniors currently receiving the credit were sent letters Nov. 15 to inform them about the change. She said 40 customers are receiving that credit.
Franey said Gahanna annually analyzes funds to determine rates for the following year.
"We take into consideration covering our current year's operational costs and set aside a reserve fund for operating costs," she said. "We also consider capital reserves. We go with 5 percent of the previous year's revenue.
"We lay out our capital improvements over as many years as possible," she said. "Then we spread out the money we collect for those capital improvements. When we did that for 2014, the net increase for water and (sewer) for 1,000 gallons of water is 3.9 percent."