CG Council moves closer to water rate hike

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 8, 2004

COAL GROVE - Two down and one to go before Coal Grove water customers could see a

water rate increase of approximately $5 per month.

The Coal Grove Village Council heard the second reading Monday of an ordinance that would raise the rates $1.25 per thousand gallons, bringing the village's total fee to $4.50 per thousand in the village and for water sold to Hecla.

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Deering customers would pay $5.25. The ordinance would also increase the minimum monthly bill from $10 to $20 for these customers.

The rates were last increased in early 2002.

Council will vote on the issue in a special meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday in the village hall.

If adopted, the increase will cost the average consumer in the village approximately $5 more a month, Mayor Larry McDaniel said. The plan would generate approximately $130,000 a year and would help the village operate the water department that is low on funds.

"This is economics," McDaniel said. "We have needed repairs to do at the water plant, such as the well."

Repairs to the well are projected to cost more than $10,000 and the village currently only has $2,000 in the water fund, he said.

First and foremost, the money will be used to continue to provide services, but it could be used to put two of the laid-off employees from the water department back to work, the mayor said.

Councilman Nick Miller said he opposed the increase a few months ago until he researched the issue more thoroughly. The increase would keep the village comparable with other local suppliers.

Hecla Water charges $5.70 per thousand gallons, Ironton charges $4.40 per thousand gallons and Ohio American Water charges approximately $5.70 per thousand gallons, Miller said.

Ironton and OAWC are both considering increases.

"I am for this increase because it is not just a matter of bringing guys back to work," he said. "It is to keep the services going. But hopefully, we will be able to bring some of the guys back later."

Doug Price, a village resident for 57 years, was the only community member to speak out during the special meeting. He said it would cost him almost $10 per month and seems to be a way to bail out the village for past mistakes of over spending and poor management.

"There are old people in this village on a fixed income that can't afford to pay this. My mother is one of them," he said after the meeting. "I just think there are other ways to generate revenue and cut expenses."