Clark County water, sewer rates to increase next year

Dec 23, 2017

All Clark County water and sewer customers will face rate hikes next year, including some as high as 17 percent due to the city of Springfield’s recent increase.

Rates will increase between 1.9 and 17.3 percent for customers who use those services based on location, according to public documents. Clark County commissioners approved the increases this week.

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Areas connected to the city of Springfield’s water and sewer utilities — Northridge, Garden Acres, Maplewood, Limecrest and Rockway — will be charged the city’s recent rate increase, as well as an additional 2-percent increase for operations and maintenance, Clark County Utilities Director Chuck Bauer said.

“We didn’t ask for as much there to soften the impact on the large increases but we have to have the extra money because we have to run the systems ourselves,” he said.

The county spends about $2.7 million to purchase water and supply sewer services from Springfield to those areas, Bauer said, the largest item in the utilities budget.

The water and sewer increases will generate an estimated $506,000 for Clark County that will pay for operations and management, Bauer said.

All bills are calculated based on water usage. A typical home uses about 4,500 gallons of water per month, Bauer said. In areas connected to city utilities, a typical bill will cost residents between $21 and $93 depending on the area and services provided. Northridge, Maplewood and Limecrest use both water and sewer, he said.

It was important to keep county increases lower for those who are connected to Springfield’s water system, Clark County Commissioner Melanie Flax Wilt said.

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“I’m glad it was considered,” she said. “This isn’t the biggest bill people pay every month, but 15 percent is going to make an impact. They’re going to notice. It’s nice to be able to say we didn’t have a big part of that.”

Springfield’s rates will increase nearly 40 percent over the next three years to pay for more than $80 million in federally mandated projects designed to cut down on raw sewage overflows into local waterways.

The Springfield City Commission approved increases of 13.7 percent in 2018 and 13 percent in both 2019 and 2020 earlier this month.

Springfield is expected to spend more than $250 million over the next 25 years on sewer projects as part of its combined sewer overflow program, designed to keep raw sewage from flowing into local streams and waterways, such as Buck Creek and Mad River.

It’s already spent more than $100 million on related projects, including a high-rate treatment clarifier, and is constructing the Erie Express Sewer, which will send sewage from the area of Bechtle Avenue and Ohio 41 straight to the Wastewater Treatment Plant on Dayton Avenue.

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Other areas that use Clark County water and sewer but receive it from different areas such as Huber Heights Expanded, Park Layne, West Enon, Houck Meadows, Lawrenceville, Medway and Lake Manor Mobile Home Park, will see rate increases anywhere from 1.9 to 3 percent, documents say.

Other cities, including New Carlisle and Columbus, also recently increased rates, Clark County Commissioner Lowell McGlothin said. New Carlisle’s rate recently jumped about 11 percent, meaning a typical bill will cost about $57 per month.

“Everybody is in the same boat,” McGlothin said.

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