Ironton sewer rates set to increase in January

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 29, 2004

Ironton's sewer rates will be going up but city officials emphasized the money is not going down the drain.

Residents will see the wastewater portion of their water bills increase in January after the Ironton City Council unanimously approved a plan Monday that will hike the sewer rates by $1.45 per thousand gallons over the next three years, bringing the total cost to $5.50 per thousand gallons used.

Councilman Bill Nenni emphasized the increase was badly needed and much overdue to boost the fund that is supposed to be self-sufficient but was actually spending nearly $120,000 more than it brings in each year and using up a dwindling carryover.

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"(The sewer fund) was not solvent and was going to end up in the red," Nenni said. "These rate adjustments will allow this fund to stay solvent."

The rates will go from $4.05 to $5 per thousand gallons starting in January and then to $5.50 per thousand gallons in January 2007. A residential household’s bill will increase by approximately $9 by 2007, based on an average usage of 6,000 to 7,000 gallons, wastewater treatment plant superintendent John Haskins said recently.

Councilmen Chuck O'Leary, Bob Isaac, Bill Nenni, Jesse Roberts and Brent Pyles all voted for the increase. Jim Tordiff and Richard Price were absent.

The increased revenue will help pay for operation costs, preventative maintenance and general upkeep of the city’s sewer treatment plant, Haskins said.

These changes will also allow for the department to purchase a street sweeper and new vacuum truck, all the first steps in meeting the Environmental Protection Agency's mandated Combined Sewer Overflow plan that could cost residents anywhere from a few dollars per month to more than $15.

The sewer increase has no effect on the city general fund which has a spending deficit of more than $500,000 per year. The only solution for this problem so far has been the reciprocity income tax change which will generate approximately $350,000 a year but will not really start rolling in until 2006.

Resident Mike Pearson once again attended to express his support for the $10 municipal fee.

"Take my money. Why won't you take my money?" he asked, for the fourth or fifth time in recent months. "I will be here every time until you do."

In other business, Council unanimously approved resolutions stating that the city will continue to pay a portion of the cost for the Ohio Police and Fire Pension fund.