Springfield water, sewer rates may increase 40 percent by 2020


Water and sewer rates in Springfield may rise 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.

However Springfield still has one of the most affordable utility rates in the region, even with the planned increases, City Manager Jim Bodenmiller said.

FIRST REPORT: Springfield sewer rates to go up to pay for $250M upgrades

The increases are expected to be 13.7 percent in 2018 and 13 percent in both 2019 and 2020, according to public documents. City commissioners are expected to vote on the proposed increases on Dec. 5.

The projects have been mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the city has no choice but to charge utility users to pay for them, Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland said.

“The federal government is making us spend money and isn’t giving us any money to cover that, so this has to be paid for by the local folks,” he said. “The feds are the ones who decided we had to spend it. It wasn’t our decision. We didn’t have a choice.”

All bills are calculated based on water usage. A typical home using about 3,000 gallons of water per month paid about $32 per month for sewer and water last year. If commissioners approve the rate hikes, that same home will see its rate increase to $36.37 next year, $41.11 in 2019 and $46.46 in 2020, Beckdahl said.

MORE NEWS: Springfield police donate food to needy families for Thanksgiving

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.

“We did not just run into this project,” Springfield City Commissioner Kevin O’Neill said. “This project has been facing us for over 20 years and we have delayed the project hoping the federal government would come to its senses or that there would be money or grants or something so that we didn’t have to bite this bullet, but it didn’t happen.”

Last year the city saw a decrease in its overall water usage due to one major business leaving town and overall conservation efforts at both homes and businesses, Beckdahl said.

“It’s all led to declining usage of our water and a lower income to the water fund, which also carries over to our sewer fund,” he said.

The city’s sewer fund is projected to have about $6 million in debt next year to pay for those combined sewer overflow projects, Beckdahl said.

MORE: Clark County to spend $140K for consultant for combined 9-1-1 center

The $60 million high-rate treatment clarifier — the single most expensive item ever approved by city commissioners — began construction in 2012 and was completed in 2016. The plant now has the capacity to treat up to 140 million gallons of sewage per day.

The city hasn’t had an overflow at the site since the project was completed, Springfield Service Director Chris Moore said.

Water rates have also remained stable for nine years, Moore said.

The $20 million 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, is currently under construction and is expected to be completed in November of 2018.

RELATED: Springfield to spend $1.1M to replace aging fire truck, ambulances

Springfield ranked among the 10 lowest cities in the region for water and sewer utility rates this year, according to the annual Oakwood Water and Sewer Rate Survey released in March. Springfield residents pay about $189 every three months for combined water and sewer, based on 22,500 gallons of water used every three months, ranking seventh lowest overall.

If the increase is approved, it will remain in the bottom-15 municipalities in the 63-community region, Bodenmiller said.

“It’s half of what they are in some of the more expensive communities,” he said. “It makes us more competitive for economic development and our residents.”

3 QUICK SPRINGFIELD READS

Mayor: Lack of parks funding from Clark County ‘a scandal’

Springfield to use tax increase to hire 7 police officers, pave roads

Here’s your chance to weigh in on proposed Clark County 9-1-1 tax



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Politics

Local Republican congressman says Trump’s Syria strike ‘unconstitutional’
Local Republican congressman says Trump’s Syria strike ‘unconstitutional’

Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, said President Donald Trump’s decision to launch a retaliatory strike against Syria for using chemical weapons against its own people was “unconstitutional.” “There is no authority to do that,” Davidson said during a meeting with the Dayton Development Coalition. He said while it’s appropriate...
Guns, opioids dominate talk at local Washington fly-in
Guns, opioids dominate talk at local Washington fly-in

The Dayton Development Coalition’s annual fly-in to Washington is typically a pretty locally-driven affair — lots of discussion of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and the Wright Brothers historical sites — but on Wednesday, the conversation briefly veered into a national social issue. Asked whether he supports outlawing assault rifles...
Major reforms could come to payday lending industry in Ohio
Major reforms could come to payday lending industry in Ohio

A week after Republican Cliff Rosenberger’s abrupt resignation, state lawmakers moved to push through the strongest reforms on payday lending that Ohio has seen in a decade. House Bill 123 calls for closing loopholes, limiting monthly payments to no more than 5 percent of the borrower’s monthly income, limiting fees to $20 or no more than...
Kucinich discloses $20,000 speaking fee from pro-Syrian group
Kucinich discloses $20,000 speaking fee from pro-Syrian group

Democrat Dennis Kucinich is under attack for his association with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and now disclosure of a $20,000 payment he received from a pro-Assad group. Former Ohio governor Ted Strickland accused Kucinich of deliberately trying to hide the $20,000 payment by listing the income on his ethics statement without disclosing that it...
Ohio Sen. Portman might oppose bill to keep Trump from firing Mueller
Ohio Sen. Portman might oppose bill to keep Trump from firing Mueller

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, suggested he would oppose a bill that would prevent President Donald Trump from firing former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who as a special counsel for the Justice Department is investigating possible links in the 2016 presidential campaign between Russia and Trump campaign officials. RELATED: Defending Trump in Russia probe?...
More Stories