November 27, 2014

Elyria
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Water deal with Elyria averts rate hike in North Ridgeville

NORTH RIDGEVILLE — An automatic water rate hike of roughly $3 a month won’t be imposed this year.

A $5 million reserve in the city’s water fund allowed for the city to bypass the planned hike, which would have increased fees 13.65 percent.

“Our reserves are up enough that we decided we didn’t need the increase right now,” Mayor David Gillock said. “We normally like to keep $1 million in there for water line replacements and that sort of thing.”

Increased water use because of new construction and a much-warmer, drier summer in 2012 led to the substantial boost in water fund reserves, according to the mayor.

In addition, the city expects to save money with a pact to buy two-thirds of the water it needs from Elyria rather than Avon Lake. Avon Lake had hiked its price, which prompted talks with Elyria.

The deal allows the city to buy water from Elyria for $1.21 per 1,000 gallons compared with the $1.44 per 1,000 gallons it is paying to Avon Lake. Before the deal, Elyria supplied less than 10 percent of the water used by North Ridgeville.

“That was another reason why we felt we didn’t need to push hard for this rate hike,” Gillock said.

The Elyria pact, signed in 2012, will run for 10 years. Elyria will provide up to 2 million gallons of water a day to North Ridgeville, with the $1.21 rate locked in for five years, according to Mary Siwierka, Elyria’s safety-service director.

The average North Ridgeville household of four used 800 to 1,000 cubic feet of water or roughly 6,000 gallons each month, according to 2012 figures from Jim Whitlock, Utilities Department supervisor.

“This is good for us and them,” Siwierka said of the long-term contract, which is expected to generate between $50,000 and $300,000 annually for Elyria.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.