A proposed water rate increase in Garrettsville is changing slightly following a new proposal at Wednesday's Village Council meeting.
Councilman Tom Hardesty offered an amendment to the current proposal, allowing for a five percent increase over five years on water rates within the village. After five years that rate with decrease to two percent each year afterward.
Originally, the plan called for a five percent increase each year. New rates for customers would be effective January 2017.
"The increase is relatively small in comparison with the entire bill," Hardesty said. "The village has over 1,000 customers. If the average water bill is $25 a bill, our revenue would be $25,000 a month."
Water rates are set at a flat fee of $25 a month. With the five percent added on, a user would pay an extra $1.25 a month the first year, $1.31 the following and so on.
Sewer rates would not be affected and remain at $52.66 per month.
Last month, Clerk-Treasurer Nancy Baldwin said the village collects about $450,000 annually in water bills, which is insufficient to maintain the aging water system within the village.
Several areas of the 100-year-old water pipes are being replaced using grants obtained through the county. Concerns over the stability of the system became apparent after pipes burst during the fire downtown several years ago.
At the current rates, the village would not have the funds to do repairs if any further damage was done.
The Board of Public Affairs was recently told it qualified for a grant that would pay roughly 70 percent of the cost of construction, which the members were looking into as a possible source of funding. With that taken into account, council agreed that a change to the rate increase could be in order.
Hardesty also said that with the new rate increase, the village could have enough funds in order to pay for an extra employee to work on the roads or other service areas.
Council also approved the purchase of a new dump truck to be used as a plow and for village maintenance. Mayor Rick Patrick said the truck would cost roughly $60,000, including a plow and bed.
However, council was not sure where the funds would come from. Several different areas were suggested as possible sources, including the cemetery, parks and recreation, roads and board of public affairs funds.
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