Marysville News

Vote slated Nov. 21 on higher water, sewer rates

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Marysville City Council is set to vote at its Nov. 21 meeting on proposed water and sewer rate increases.

City Engineer Jeremy Hoyt offered examples at council's Nov. 7 meeting of what city water customers would be charged if the proposed rate changes take effect.

If council approves -- according to a table he presented -- proposed wastewater charges would go up by 13.5 percent for all residential customers; water charges would decrease by 15.4 percent for residential customers who are charged for minimum use of 200 cubic feet; and by 4 percent for residential customers using 500 cubic feet.

A typical residential customer using 500 cubic feet of water currently pays $103.79 per month; that includes $44.57 for water, $35.47 for wastewater and $2.75 for stormwater services, plus $21 for trash collection.

The proposed changes would increase the overall monthly bill to $106.80; it includes $42.80 for water and $40.25 for wastewater with stormwater and trash fees staying the same -- an overall increase of 2.9 percent.

A customer using 200 cubic feet of water currently pays $68.57 per month; that includes $27.20 for water, $17.62 for wastewater, $2.75 for stormwater and $21 for trash collection.

The proposed rate changes would drop the overall charge to $66.75, which includes $23 for water, $20 for wastewater and no change for stormwater and trash for an overall decrease of 2.7 percent.

Commercial rates will also change, if the legislation is approved.

According to information from Hoyt, the minimum monthly charge for a commercial/industrial user with a three-inch meter would go from $910.24 to $681.10.

A typical "medium" commercial/industrial customer using 15,000 cubic feet of water would see the monthly charge go from $1,557.34 to $1,724.95.

A typical "large" commercial/industrial customer using 100,000 cubic feet of water per month would see the charges increase from $9,041.97 to $10,242.08.

City Administrator Terry Emery said Marysville did incur some debt with the new sewer facility, which is contributing to the higher sewer and water rates.

The new water reclamation facility on Beecher Gamble Road was built after a study in 2004 highlighted concerns about the age of the existing plant and its ability to handle expansion.

The city's wastewater system serves the residents and businesses in Marysville as well as Milford Center, the Honda of America auto plants, and southeastern Union County primarily along Industrial Parkway, which is why the new facility was located on Beecher Gamble Road.

Emery said the city is trying to offset the increase in wastewater costs in other ways.

The city has negotiated a five-year deal with Republic Services Inc. for trash collection and recycling that he said offers residents a bit of a break.

In addition, increased development in the area is also helping through the sale of water taps. Emery said the developers of Jerome Village, a new housing development between Marysville, Dublin and Plain City, bought 97 connections for $1.1 million.

Other development deals, such as the new Meijer, Nationwide Children's facility, the new Memorial Hospital Urgent Care facility, Culver's, and Sumitomo Electrical Wiring Systems' new 350,000-square-foot building, also will bring in more money for the city in water tap fees, Emery said.

"We understand the concerns the residents have, and we want to do everything we can to lessen the impact for residents," he said. "All that growth continues to help us and we hope, down the road, to see a benefit to our rates."

The changes in the city's sewer and water rates were suggested by a utility rate working group that was established at the beginning of this year in response to complaints from developers that Marysville's tap fee were unreasonable in comparison to adjacent utility competitors.

The group's goal was to make sure utility connection charges and user rates are "fair and equitable."

Hoyt said the URS Corp. conducted a verification study of local utility rates and found that Marysville's water department finances "are sufficient for daily operations while saving for the future water treatment plant."

In general, the study verified that current capacity fees are "fair and equitable."

"The city of Delaware and Delaware County utilities had comparable capacity fees," Hoyt said.

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