Wauseon City Council begins water rate increase process


By David J. Coehrs - dcoehrs@aimmediamidwest.com



Wauseon City Council began the process this week of raising water and sewer rates by 6% and increasing fees for water restoration.

First readings for the proposed ordinances were passed at a meeting held Monday. The following water rates would apply beginning April 1:

• Residential – Per 100 cubic feet, $6.54 for the first 7.00 hundred cubic feet; $4.35 over 7.00 hundred cubic feet; $7.54 minimum charge per billing.

• Commercial – Per 100 cubic feet, $6.54 for the first 20 hundred cubic feet; $4.35 over 20 hundred cubic feet; $20.89 minimum charge per billing.

• $23.19 per 1,000 cubic feet of water for residential and commercial accounts inside city limits exceeding 100,000 cubic feet per billing period.

• $23.19 per 1,000 cubic feet of water for residential and commercial accounts outside city limits exceeding 120,000 cubic feet per billing period.

The second of the two ordinances would increase the cost of restoring disconnected water service to $50 and restoring service during non-business hours to $100.

The rate hikes were originally proposed during a Committee of the Whole meeting, where City Finance Director Jamie Giguere told Council members water and sewer rates can be evaluated, and adjusted if necessary, each year.

In other business, Council voted to accept the Personnel Committee’s recommendation to replace the city’s Assistant Director of Finance position with a part-time accounts payable position. Because the position is part-time the city will save about $25,000 in health insurance and benefits.

The change in position comes with the March 31 retirement of the city’s longtime assistant finance director.

An ongoing state COVID-19 ban on in-person events led Council members to approve a recommendation by the Tree Commission to delay hosting the annual Tree City USA banquet until 2023. The commission planned to host the event this year in Wauseon.

The city venue and food vendors for the event have been canceled. Supplies had not yet been ordered.

Stepanie Miller, an urban forester who helped plan the function, told commission members during their recent meeting she may plan a virtual event this year to replace the annual gathering.

Council also agreed to schedule a public meeting during its March 15 meeting to discuss the proposed rezoning of property at 604-606 S. Shoop Ave. from multi-family to mixed community use to permit construction of a building addition.

In department reports presented at the Council’s Committee of the Whole meeting:

• Police Chief Kevin Chittenden announced the resignation of Officer John Borcherdt, effective Feb. 24. Borcherdt has been a full-time officer for 5 1/2 years.

Chittenden also reminded residents that sidewalks must be cleared within 24 hours of snowfall, and that cars parked on the street during a Level One snow emergency can be towed.

• Public Service Director Keith Torbet discussed asking Norfolk Southern Railroad for access to an approved crossing about 1,000 feet from County Roads 11 and 12 to maintain a bicycle trail. He said improvements to the trail between County Road 11 and County Road 13 haven’t been made due to the risk of illegal entrance on railroad property and an unapproved crossing that could cause safety concerns.

Torbet also discussed the city’s renewed membership to the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments and a possible orientation session with its representatives at a Council meeting in April.

Council members also approved: emergency resolutions authorizing Mayor Kathy Huner to enter agreements with Intelligent Mailing Solution for a new postage meter and TCF Capital Solutions for a new vactor truck; the first reading of a resolution for Huner to enter an agreement with Sudsina & Associates to advise on debt offerings and other financial issues.

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By David J. Coehrs

dcoehrs@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.