City Council unanimously adopted legislation at the December 19 meeting that will result in a change in sewer bills for most residents. The legislation, was introduced at the November 21 City Council meeting by the Council Finance Committee of Council President, Larry Antoskiewicz, Ward 2 Councilman Gary Petrusky and Ward 4 Councilman Paul Marnecheck.
The legislation was placed on second reading at that meeting, then on third reading at the December 5 meeting, with the final vote taking place on December 19. It amends the current ordinance regarding sanitary sewer charges in the city’s codified ordinances, Part 10 Streets, Utilities and Public Services Code, Chapter 1045 Billing, Collection and Customer Service Section 1045.08, Sanitary Sewer Charges Generally, Paragraph (1)(a).
The city had contracted Raftelis Financial Consultants, Incorporated for a rate study to be performed earlier last year. The recommendations were based upon current usage and population of the city, the maintenance and of the waste water system. The study concluded that an increase in user fees would be required to meet both the current and the anticipated upcoming expenses for the operation, maintenance and debt reduction of the Wastewater Treatment department for a term beginning in 2018 and lasting through 2022. Mayor Bob Stefanik said that the increase was necessitated by the need for the city’s two wastewater treatment plants to be maintained and improved. He indicated that millions of dollars have recently been spent on improvements to the plants, but there were still costs going forward. “We plan and budget, knowing you have to maintain. Prevention and routine maintenance is of the utmost importance,” he said.
Although there is no rate hike per mcf in 2018, residents will pay an additional $5.00 per month service charge that will be tacked on starting this year and will ultimately increase as the five years goes on.
The following rates are new per mcf/service charge rates, beginning with the first billing cycle of 2018:
2018, rate of $84.71 for the period of January 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018 and the rate of $79.29 with a $5.00 per month service charge from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018.
2019, rate of 82.98, plus a $5.00 per month service charge
2020 rate of $85.43, plus a $6.00 per month service charge
2021 rate of $87.09, plus a $7.00 per month service charge
2022 rate of $88.83, plus a $8.00 per month service charge
“Senior citizens receiving a water homestead exemption from the City of Cleveland Division of Water shall receive a thirty six percent sanitary sewer discount on all rates provided for in this section,” according to the ordinance, as is currently dictated.
Another part of the amendment removes the minimum charge of 1 MCF per quarter. The ordinance states that “during the first billing month in 2018 and the first billing month of every year thereafter, through 2022, the sanitary sewer charge from zero to 1,000 cubic feet of water consumed per month (minimum charge of 1 MCF per quarter shall remain in effect until June 30, 2018), as registered by the water meters shall be at the rate as stated.” In other words, the 1 MCF minimum will remain in effect until June 30, 2018. After that point and until the end of 2022, the charge will be based on the actual water usage, with no minimum. Antoskiewicz said that it addresses some of the things that I have heard in the past. One of the biggest issues was the minimum mcf charge, so it was something that we wanted to address, we could address, so we did. Five years ago, we weren’t in a good position financially, so we got it up and running in the right mode, so we could do that. . . it now allows people to pay for what they use.” On the rate structure, he noted that “there will then be some modest increases for the next five years.”

Contributing Writer