The City of North Royalton commissioned the firm of with Raftelis Financial Consultants, Incorporated to formulate the 2017 rate study analysis earlier this year.  The study has concluded and Council has already legislated some changes.  Some residents will see a cut in their sewer charges, but most will probably see increases, if proposed legislation is adopted.

City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance that authorizes the City of Cleveland, Division of Water to reduce the sewer charge for all users that are connected to the North Royalton Consolidated Sanitary Sewer District, but don’t have water meters that show actual water consumption. Currently, those users are charged 2.5 mcf per quarter, totaling 10 mcf per year.  Basing the rate on the 2017 rate study analysis, the legislation reduced the amount to 40 mcf per month, totaling 4.8 mcf per year.  That change will be effective on January 1, 2018.  Mayor Bob Stefanik had said in the past that this was a change he wanted to be instituted.  “This really hurts single people and those who go away for the winter,” he said.

A second piece of legislation was introduced at the November 21 meeting that amends the current ordinance regarding sanitary sewer charges.  If passed, it amends 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).  This legislation adopts the findings of the five year rate study analysis and indicates the sewer rate charges for 2018-2022. That legislation was placed on second reading.  If adopted as introduced, the following rates are proposed per mcf:

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 addresses the minimum charge of 1 MCF per quarter.  The ordinance proposes 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 a 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.

The last study was done in 2012, with rates projected through the end of this year.   Under the 2012 study, the North Royalton sanitary sewer rates, per MCF, were $67.67 for 2012, $73.41 in 2013, $75.30 in 2014, $78.32 in 2015, $81.45 in 2016 and $84.71 in 2017.   The debt on the Wastewater Treatment plants drops off his year, which was used to fund major plant improvements.

Stefanik said that the increase was necessary to ensure that the two city wastewater treatment plants are maintained and improved.   “We just spent millions of dollars on improvements to the plants.  There is still going to be costs going forward.  We plan and budget, knowing you have to maintain.  Prevention and routine maintenance is of the utmost importance,” he said.


Contributing  Writer