Canal Winchester City Council is reviewing what residents and businesses will pay for water and sanitary sewer service for the next four years.
An ordinance that was expected to receive the first of three readings at council's Aug. 20 meeting proposes no increases in 2019 and 2020 and 2 percent increases in 2021 and 2022.
The city's approximately 2,800 residential and business customers currently pay $6.33 per 1,000 gallons of water and $5.88 per 1,000 gallons for sewer service.
A typical family of four uses around 4,000 gallons of water monthly, which equates to a $50 bill, Public Works Director Matt Peoples said.
"We're typically lower than surrounding communities, but Columbus has always been lower than us, considering the volume," he said. "I think we're very competitive."
The new rate schedule, if approved by council, would bump water rates to $6.46 per thousand gallons in 2021 and $6.59 per thousand gallons in 2022. Sewer rates would increase to $6 and $6.12 per thousand gallons, respectively.
Council last approved rate increases in 2014, increasing water rates by 2 percent each year from 2015 to 2018. Sewer rates remained the same in 2015 and 2016 but went up by by 2 percent in 2017 and 2018.
Peoples works with City Finance Director Amanda Jackson to project expenses and growth. He said they also take new regulations and trends into consideration.
"With water, we are always seeing an increase in the cost of chemicals," Peoples said. "It's always one of our most volatile expenses. Obviously, you have personnel with salary and benefits. We have a good handle on that over the next four years."
Peoples said other considerations include repairs and maintenance and what might need to be replaced over the next five years. Recently, crews repaired the city's oldest water line, which dated back to the 1930s, he said.
Last year, Canal Winchester began upgrading its water meter-reading infrastructure as part of a multiyear project designed to phase out old equipment and use new technologies.
The upgrades involve the radio-read system, which provides for a more efficient way to read meters and detects consumer leaks and unusually high usage, he said.
The updated technology also provides fail-safes and alerts the city of problems, such as dying meter batteries. The system uses repeaters to collect data and deliver it to a website for the city to review.