Reynoldsburg resident Cornelius McGrady asked city council's finance committee last week to consider water and sewer rate discounts for senior citizens, veterans and the physically challenged.

Reynoldsburg resident Cornelius McGrady asked city council's finance committee last week to consider water and sewer rate discounts for senior citizens, veterans and the physically challenged.

City council is currently considering two pieces of legislation that, if approved, would increase water rates by 9 percent and sewer rates by 6.25 percent. McCrady asked if the ordinances could be amended to include a discount program.

As a result, council president William Hills asked McGrady to gather information on any programs available and bring it to city council members to review for possible further discussion.

McGrady said programs are offered in other Ohio cities, including Columbus, to qualified individuals and he would like to see a program established for qualified residents in Reynoldsburg.

Currently, the city offers discounts to qualified seniors age 60 or older on trash fees; they pay $42.27 per quarter instead of the regular quarterly rate of $46.77, a savings of $4.50.

McGrady said he is familiar with benefits of similar programs, having served in Columbus' Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) investigating application fraud.

HEAP assists qualified, low-income families tp pay their home energy costs and in winterizing their homes.

City auditor Richard Harris said Columbus does not offer discount programs on water or sewer rates. If Reynoldsburg offered such a discount, the cost would most likely have to be offset somewhere else, he said.

"Any kind of program council would decide to enact could possibly change the water and sewer rates for people in the city who don't qualify," Harris said.

Hills said he wasn't sure how the city could review and look over other plans and programs in place and get something implemented before current legislation on the water and sewer rate hikes is passed, if the new rates are to be effective on Jan. 1.

"We're increasing our cost because of what Columbus has increased, but certainly, on something like this, offering a program sounds like a great idea - but can we do it?" Hills said. "It's certainly something the city can look at and consider and see how it would fit."

Councilman Chris Long agreed with Harris that whatever discounts were offered on one end would have to be made up on the other.

"What I'm more curious to see on what Cornelius is talking about is how much of the programs are actually state and county programs," Long said. "I'm looking forward to the information that he promised to send to us. There may be programs that we're not aware of and if we could make these people aware of them, perhaps that's something to take a look at."

dowen@thisweeknews.com

www.ThisWeekNEWS.com