August 20, 2014

Elyria
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69°F
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LORCO announces 10 percent rate hike

WELLINGTON TWP. — Sewer rates will go up about 10 percent in 2013 for customers in the Lorain County Rural Wastewater District.

The LORCO board of trustees voted to hike minimum monthly sewer rates from $42 to $46.20 in 2013, saying it was the fiscally responsible thing to do.

Customers who use more than 2,000 gallons a month would pay an additional $5.50 per 1,000 gallons.

Flushing the toilet is going to be a luxury in the LORCO service area, which now includes portions of Eaton and Carlisle townships, resident Elizabeth Rattray said.

Some residents say they already pay $70 a month, plus an additional $20 a month for assessments for the cost of tap-in fees.

Others were frustrated that developers were able to back out of building housing developments that would have helped LORCO meet revenue projections.

Rattray attended the meeting with her children Carson, 9, and Morgan, 12.

“I intend to sell my house in a short amount of time, and I don’t think anyone will want to buy it because it will cost $1 million to flush the toilets,” said Rattray of Eaton Township.

“Just out of curiosity, how many people on this board have a home on the system?” she asked.

Board President James McConnell said that while none of the board members’ homes is served by the LORCO sewers, board members take their duty seriously to represent their respective townships and the interests of LORCO customers.

The sewers have only been operating a year, but revenue shortfalls require rate increases until more customers hook up, officials said.

The LORCO board also voted to increase tap-in fees by $1,000 a year for the next three years from $6,000 to $7,000 in 2013, $8,000 in 2014 and $9,000 in 2015.

The board put off voting on similar 10 percent rate hikes that would bring minimum rates to $50.82 in 2014 and $55.90 in 2015 in hopes that customers might somehow be spared.

LORCO Executive Director Rob Berner said there are discussions under way about a feasibility study on the cost of extending lines to the Pheasant Run subdivision in LaGrange Township.

LaGrange Township Trustee Rita Canfield, also a LORCO board member, urged Berner to set up a public meeting with trustees on the matter to bring them into the loop.

LORCO officials also discussed flooding from superstorm Sandy, saying that LORCO customers only used 3.8 million gallons of water Oct. 5 to Nov. 5, but the Avon Lake Municipal Utilities plant treated 8.3 million gallons from LORCO.

Berner said he believes numerous customers took the covers off their yard “clean-out” pipes and let rainwater flow into sanitary sewers.

“Things like this cause the system to cost more to operate,” Berner said. “If we catch them, we can fine them.”

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.