New Waterford passes utility rate increases

NEW WATERFORD – Council passed the third and final reading on a water and sewer rate increase on Tuesday.

Customers will see the increases on the September bills.

There will be a one dollar per thousand gallon increase on the sewer side and a base-rate increase of $2.50 a month on the water side.

Fiscal Officer Dave Slagle said council, which passed the legislation unanimously, realized “we cannot pay for it (infrastructure upgrades) ourselves … we have to get grants …”

When the issue was first discussed weeks ago, Mayor Shane Patrone and Slagle explained the numbers and the village’s ineligibility to acquire grant money to help replace water and sewer lines was linked to the median household income and what it was charging customers.

It became clear to village officials that rates had to be raised to obtain grant eligibility.

In other business, the village is looking for emergency grant or loan money after problems were found in one of the two clarifiers at the sewage plant.

Patrone said the problem is maintenance related and part of the metal sheeting on one clarifier developed pin-holes and part of it separated into the tank.

“We’re draining it now,” Patrone said Wednesday, adding that the Ohio Public Works Commission has emergency funds. He said it was a matter of a loan, a grant or combination of both.

He said the estimate is between $40,000 and $50,000 per clarifier and he hoped to have more information after the unit is drained. The system can run on one clarifier, but will need them both on line by next spring.

“We need it done ASAP,” Patrone said.

Another issue cropped up when 15 of the 18 green sand filter valves were found to be defective, Patrone said. He said it effected the monthly back-flushing.

“They had a problem getting pressure up,” he said, explaining that of the 15 valves not working properly, two are redundant and could be eliminated.

Patrone said the valves were 25 years old and they would replace all of them using $4,500 left over from the green sand filter grant but that left about an $8,000 balance the village would have to pay.

Also, in other business, council passed a resolution increasing the police and fire retirement contributions by employees.

Currently police and firefighters pay 10 percent into their pensions.

The increase will be three-quarters of a percent each for the next three years, Slagle said, noting the total increase will be 2.25 percent, bringing the employee contribution to 12.25 percent in 2015.