Pickerington Times-Sun

City water, sewer rates won't increase this year

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Pickerington residents should get a nice little break on their water and sewer bills with an expected 3- percent annual increase placed on hiatus for at least another year.

March 4, Pickerington City Council unanimously approved a resolution which will rollback the automatic 3-percent increase until April 1, 2015, whereupon it will revisit the issue to determine if another increase is necessary based on the prior year's projections.

"Customers will see the new reduced rates on their March utility billing statement due April 15," said Chris Schornack, Pickerington's Finance Director.

"The reduced rates only apply to water and sanitary sewer services," he said.

Schornack said the decision to rollback the rate increase came after the completion of the city's five-year utility forecast.

It was determined the city has sufficient funds in reserve based upon projected costs to keep the rates at their 2013 level.

"The Finance Department performs a five-year forecast for all utility funds on an annual basis," Schornack said.

"Based on the results of this forecast, a recommendation was made to the city manager, mayor and City Council to reduce the water and sewer utility rates for 2014," he said.

At the same meeting, City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that will now allow it to implement the annual automatic rate increase on April 1, instead of the previous effective date of Jan. 1.

The four-month delay is to help determine whether such an increase is necessary based on the prior year's numbers and projections.

"The automatic 3-percent increase for water and sewer rates was pushed back to April 1 to allow the Finance Department to present the five-year utility forecast to council," Schornack said.

"Based on this forecast, council can then decide whether or not to allow the automatic increase to go into effect," he said.

"As it stands now, the forecast is presented to the Finance Committee in February so as to incorporate the previous year's actual amounts," Schornack said. "This will occur annually."

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