LORAIN — A 70-percent wastewater and sanitary sewer rate increase approved May 6 by City Council members was rescinded tonight in favor of a $10.94 monthly operations and maintenance fee beginning in January. The fees, would run through the end of 2017 and increase 5 percent annually.
The increase for roughly 1,000 residents in Amherst, Elyria and Sheffield townships from 130 percent to 200 percent of what Lorain customers pay outraged some township customers, who faced average annual increases of about $270. Township residents with average usage saw their sewer bills increase from about $45 to $60 and their monthly water bills increase from about $22.50 to $30, according to Safety/Service Director Robert Fowler.
Mayor Chase Ritenauer called the monthly fee a “more incremental and balanced approach” to addressing sewer overflow problems, which include a $65 million underground tunnel project that the increase was designed to help fund.
Republican County Commissioner Tom Williams, who previously called the increase “robbery,” was blasted by the Democratic Ritenauer and Council members Eddie Edwards, D-5th and Brian Gates, D-1st. They accused Williams of political grandstanding.
“The actions of this commissioner did not lead to this decision, but hindered it,” Gates said.
See Tuesday’s Chronicle-Telegram for the full story.