Westerville residents can expect only a slight increase or even a decrease in electric rates in 2019, a $1 increase per month for refuse collection and an increase in monthly sewer costs.

At its Oct. 16 meeting, Westerville City Council heard a presentation from Kevin Weaver, the city's public service director, on 2019 rates for a variety of utilities.

Weaver said the city's electricity rate actually will decrease in 2019, but the service charge for customers will increase. In an attempt to keep charges relatively steady, the city's electric division will be decreasing cost of use for residents, but increasing the service charge to match what the city is seeing.

"The entire goal with electric rates has been to maintain the status quo as close as possible," Weaver said. "They've gone through a cost-of-service study, and the fixed charge -- the base charge -- is continuing to advance based on the cost of service study, but the electric charges continue to drop based on our contracts for the next few years. So the average user household is expected to come out as exactly even."

Households that use a small amount of electricity may see a slight increase in their bills, while those who use more than average could see a slight decrease in their bill.

That possible increase was concerning for council Chairman Mike Heyeck, who directed city staff to monitor charges to be sure the city remains under typical AEP service.

"For most, we're still lower, which is good," he said. "I'm just concerned that if we're not lower, people will be asking why."

Meanwhile, the city's refuse collection, operated by Rumpke, is set to increase from $18.50 per month to $19.50 per month "in order to accommodate the rate increases we're seeing from Rumpke."

The contract for Uptown Westerville, which is operated by Republic Services, is expected to increase by 8 percent, though Weaver said that number should simply bring residential properties in Uptown "in line with the rest of the community."

The final increase comes from the city's sewer operation, which has been planned to increase by 1.21 percent.

According to city staff, that increase represents a projected $2.71 more per month for the average user.

For more details on the changes, go to www.Westerville.org.

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