Sewer Rate Increases

As part of the 2018 budget, city sewer rates will go up another 15%.  I know that this is not welcome news and I know especially for lower income and fixed income families, this is a hard increase to take.

As I’ve said before, we have three distinct problems coming with our water and sewer system.

In the older parts of the city, our water and sewer pipes are anywhere from 50-100 years old and are reaching the end of their useful life.  Over the next 20 years, we will need to replace failing pipes throughout the older portions of the city.

Our water and sewer plants are older and will require major renovations and maintenance upgrades over the next 20 years to remain viable and in compliance.

Finally, the EPA is requiring cities like ours that have combined sewers where rain water and sanitary sewers flow together into one pipe, to adopt a Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) to separate and modernize those systems moving into the future.

We are not the only local municipality dealing with this issue. We are in fact one of the last cities in Ohio to negotiate a deal with the EPA on this issue. The table below (from the Ohio EPA) shows the status of other Ohio cities in this process. As you can see, most are already underway and in the process of incurring the high costs associated with correcting this problem. The price tag for the Cincinnati’s LTCP is estimated to be $1.5 billion dollars.

The City of Springfield, a city similar to Middletown, just had an article detailing the increase in rates there to meet their obligations:

http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/local-govt–politics/springfield-sewer-rates-pay-for-250m-upgrades/2EpLDJvBvYu1BmJO7ANx1J/

Seeing what other communities are going through doesn’t make your sewer bill any smaller, but my hope is that you can better understand what is going on here and elsewhere in Ohio with this issue. We are not alone and we are actually one of the last communities in Ohio to go through this process. We kept rates as low as possible for as long as possible. Now it’s our turn.

CITY LEAD

AGENCY

MEETING SS-1 LTCP APPROVAL STATUS PLAN STATUS COMPLETION YEAR
Akron Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2028
Ansonia State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Arcanum State Yes Approved Complete 2010
Avon Lake State Yes Approved Ongoing 2019
Bluffton State Yes Approved Complete 2007
Bowling Green State Yes Approved PCM 2009
Bradford State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Bremen State Yes Approved Ongoing 2015
Bucyrus Federal No Under Review Negotiating TBD
Caldwell State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Clyde State Yes Approved Ongoing 2015
Columbus Grove State Yes Approved Ongoing 2018
Columbus – Jackson Pike State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Columbus – Southerly State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Crestline State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Defiance State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Delphos State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Delta State Yes Approved Ongoing 2026
Deshler State Yes Approved Complete 2013
Dunkirk State Yes Approved Ongoing 2016
Elyria State No Under Review Ongoing TBD
EORWA State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Euclid Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Fayette State Yes Approved Ongoing 2030
Findlay State Yes Approved PCM 2000
Forest State Yes Approved Complete 2010
Fort Recovery State Yes Approved Ongoing 2019
Fostoria Federal Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Fredericktown State Yes Approved Ongoing 2029
Fremont State Yes Approved Ongoing 2028
Gibsonburg State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Girard State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Green Springs State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Greenwich State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Hamler State Yes Approved Complete 2006
Hicksville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2029
COMMUNITY LEAD MEETING SS-1 LTCP APPROVAL STATUS PLAN STATUS COMPLETION YEAR
Ironton Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2026
Lakewood Federal No Under Review Ongoing TBD
Lancaster State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Leipsic State Yes Approved PCM 2009
Lima Federal No Under Review Under Review TBD
Lisbon State Yes Approved Ongoing 2020
Luckey State Yes Approved Complete 2008
Malta State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Marion State Yes Approved Ongoing 2020
McComb State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
McConnelsville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Metamora State Yes Approved Complete 2011
Middleport State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Middletown Federal No Under Review Under Review TBD
Milford State Yes Approved Complete 2009
Mingo Junction State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Monroeville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Montpelier State Yes Approved Ongoing 2018
MSDGC Federal Yes Conditionally Approved Ongoing TBD
Napoleon State Yes Approved Ongoing 2019
NEORSD Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2034
New Boston Federal No Not Submitted Ongoing TBD
Newark State Yes Approved Ongoing 2025
Newton Falls State Yes Approved Ongoing 2020
North Baltimore State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Norwalk State Yes Approved Ongoing 2019
Oak Harbor State Yes Approved Complete 2009
Ohio City State Yes Approved Ongoing 2014
Pandora State Yes Approved Complete 2012
Paulding State Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Payne State Yes Approved Complete 2012
Perrysburg State Yes Approved Ongoing 2014
Pomeroy State Yes Approved Ongoing 2029
Port Clinton Federal Yes Approved Complete 2010
Portsmouth Federal No Phase 1 – Approved Ongoing TBD
Sandusky State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Springfield State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Steubenville State No Under Review Ongoing TBD
Swanton State Yes Approved Ongoing 2026
Tiffin State Yes Approved Ongoing 2026
COMMUNITY LEAD MEETING SS-1 LTCP APPROVAL STATUS PLAN

 STATUS

COMPLETION YEAR
Toledo Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2020
Toronto Federal Yes Approved Ongoing 2013
Upper Sandusky State Yes Under Review Ongoing 2015
Van Wert State Yes Approved Ongoing 2016
Wapakoneta State Yes Approved Ongoing 2021
Warren State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Wauseon State Yes Approved PCM 2013
Willard State Yes Approved Complete 2000
Woodsfield State Yes Approved Ongoing 2018
Woodville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2017
Wooster State Yes Approved Ongoing TBD
Youngstown Federal No Under Review Under Review TBD
Zanesville State Yes Approved Ongoing 2027

2 thoughts on “Sewer Rate Increases

  1. Here are my question(s):
    Why do we never look for more creative funding for issues like this? This is the same with other funding (like for the school operating costs). We keep throwing the burden on the home owners while renters will not directly feel pinch, at least not immediately.
    Our bill averages around $80 a month, this means we will see a $12/month increase. That may not seem like much, but I just took a $30/month hit on health benefits as well. So this takes it to $42 / month. This is no longer small change. This is a decision as to what else to cut out (do we turn the heat down another couple degrees? Try and cut the already minimized food bill?).
    So, as far as creative funding goes, why not increase or add a sales tax? Would that not be feasible? This could help spread the burden out by also including non-residents who shop within the city limits. Or what about a hotel tax? While the lack of hotels might not make this as appealing, is it something that could help with other aspects of the budget? In most cases the hotel tax would not hurt residents directly.
    The water bill for Middletown is already somewhat absurd (the idea that there is a minimum charge per month even if you use zero gallons of water) but to jack it up 15%? That hurts a bit more. At least phase it in over a few years.

    Like

    • Good morning. Sales taxes are determined at the county and state levels, not at the city level and there are certain uses for those revenues under the law. We have a hotel tax and under state law, there are restricted uses for the hotel tax money collected. Great ideas, but neither of these two can be used for this purpose. Ohio law is generally designed to have the users of the system pay for the upgrades to their system.

      Like

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