Hilliard Northwest News

Norwich Township

Some households in line for water-bill surcharge

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Almost 2,000 households in the Ridgewood neighborhood will see a slight increase from a surcharge in their next water and sewer bills.

The 1,930 households fall into a small number of customers that receive services from the city of Columbus and Franklin County, but are billed only for the Columbus cost of providing services.

All other Franklin County customers receive services from Columbus and are billed by Columbus, or receive services from Franklin County and are billed by Franklin County.

Stephen Renner, director of the Franklin County Department of Sanitary Engineering, explained the purpose of the surcharge in a Feb. 9 letter to affected Norwich Township residents.

One of the residents brought the letter to the attention of township officials.

Township Administrator Kate Cavanaugh explained the issue at the March 19 meeting of Norwich Township trustees.

For water customers, the surcharge is $1.97 per 100 cubic feet of water consumption. For sewer customers, the surcharge is 59 cents per 100 cubic feet of metered sewer usage.

The letter explains that while affected customers have rates that contribute to the maintenance of systems operated by Columbus, those rates have not included a charge for the maintenance of the part of the system operated by the county.

The surcharge funds the county's maintenance of the portion of infrastructure it owns and maintains.

Cavanaugh told trustees March 19 that township officials were not aware of the letter Renner sent until a resident informed the township.

Cavanaugh said she called Renner, who explained that the county owns a limited number of water lines, including those in parts of Ridgewood, and maintains the lines without receiving billing revenue.

Cavanaugh told trustees she also spoke with Franklin County Administrator Dan Brown, who explained that when areas of Ridgewood were tied into Columbus' services, Columbus began billing and took responsibility for some repairs.

But Franklin County remained responsible for upgrades to other portions of infrastructure and Franklin County commissioners enacted the surcharge to cover the cost.

The rate increase became effective Jan. 1 and will be reflected in the bills for the first quarter of service, ending March 31.

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