August 29, 2014

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Sheffield Village Council raises sewer rates

SHEFFIELD — Village Council members approved a sewer rate increase at their Monday meeting.

Monthly rates increase from $4.57 to $5.62 per 1,000 gallons used, a $12.60 annual increase. Monthly maintenance fees increase from $1.07 to $1.95, a $10.56 annual increase.

The increases take effect Oct. 1.

The increases were calculated based on the last five years of usage and how much money would be needed to address decreases in the sewer fund, Mayor John Hunter said after the meeting. Sheffield receives sewer service from North Ridgeville and serves about 1,480 households and businesses.

The rate increase is the first since 2012 and the maintenance hike is the first since 1995, Hunter said. He said Council — which in May rejected a $5 million sewer project expansion due to local costs — was reluctant to increase rates. “We should’ve increased the (maintenance) fee a long time ago,” he said.

Hunter said there were three reasons for the increases: Maintenance fees have not kept pace with business and population growth for Sheffield, which has about 4,000 residents; Sheffield is passing along cost increases from North Ridgeville, which it pays about $20,000 per month for service; and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio recommends Sheffield increase its fund to prepare for an emergency.

Hunter said the commission recommends Sheffield have a fund of $750,000. The fund is projected to have $372,000 by year’s end, down about $100,000 from last year.

The increase comes a month after Council raised water rates from about $108 annually to $119 annually beginning July 1. Additionally, annual service charges increased from $8.40 to $13.20. The service charge increase was the first since 1995, Hunter said.

In other business:

Treasurer Tim Pelcic said refinancing of municipal bonds and Sheffield’s new bond rating will save taxpayers $27,000 annually for nine years.

Hunter said Sheffield, which has a $5.1 million general fund budget, will finish the year with a surplus of about $1.07 million. It finished last year with a $1.05 million surplus.

Contact Evan Goodenow at 329-7129 or egoodenow@chroniclet.com.