Wauseon customers will see a 5% hike in the city water rate beginning in April, the first increase in seven years.
City Council members on Monday approved the new rate at the recommendation of the city’s Utility Committee. The average customer, using about 700 cubic feet of water per month, will pay an additional $2.28 monthly. Those using 500 cubic feet monthly will pay an extra $1.81, and those using 2,000 cubic feet monthly will pay another $5.
The cost increase, which begins April 1, is for the water rate only, and does not affect sewage or the debt charge. “Right now, a five percent increase for this year is going to keep us on a level playing field for the next year,” Public Service Director Keith Torbet said.
The last time the city raised its water rate was in 2013. During a Feb. 3 meeting of the Utility Committee, Torbet said he prefers that the city initiate water rate increases in small increments over the next several years.
Committee member Jeff Stiriz said a third water line from the water plant to the city is necessary, and that many underground city water lines are in need of replacement. But he added that Wauseon’s base water rate is the cheapest among area communities.
At a February meeting, the committee received a demonstration of Waterworth, a comprehensive online software program that can help the city determine water rate increases or decreases based on usage, population changes, and other factors.
In department reports:
• Fire Chief Rick Sluder said the department will meet Thursday with Clinton and Dover township trustees regarding emergency response times.
• Police Chief Kevin Chittenden reported the department ordered two Dodge Durango vehicles from Terry Henricks Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Archbold for use as patrol cars. The approximately $28,200 cost of each vehicle, a price Chittenden said was comparable with other dealerships, will be paid through the department’s capital fund and equitable sharing fund.
He said the vehicles will be fitted for police use and will be available by the fall. He said they were purchased locally “to keep it in the Fulton County area.”
• Public Service Director Keith Torbet said the contracting bid for the South Shoop Avenue water line project was awarded to Vernon Nagel Inc. of Napoleon. Torbet said the $508,000 bid was the lowest received.
He said the city anticipates starting the project in March, and completing the northern portion by July.
The project also carries a $15,000 cost for engineering services.
Torbet said Wauseon will host this year’s Wabash Cannonball Trail meeting on March 5 at the Rotary Park shelter house. It is the city’s first time hosting the meeting.
In other business, Council members passed the final reading of an ordinance amending Section 1144.01(a) to allow the city’s public service director to also serve as the code administrator in the area of constructing and reconstructing sidewalks.
And Council passed a motion appointing member Patrick Griggs to the city Tree Commission.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.