Strasburg, Ohio - Strasburg residents may see an increase in their water bills in the near future.
Village Finance Committee Chairman Jeff Smith says the committee is planning to recommend a series of incremental water rate increases over the next three years, with the additional revenue to be used to fund needed repairs and infrastructure improvements.
“We’re kind of lagging behind with our capabilities, with our growth and our repair. We have a water well and such to put in, some expenses, that are lying ahead of us,” he says.
The first increase would be 54 cents for every thousand gallons consumed and would go into effect at the beginning of 2019. Smith says the first-year increase would translate to an additional $2.70 per month for households with an average monthly water use of 5,000 gallons.
Additional increases of 25 cents per thousand gallons are being proposed for each of the next two years of the plan. The village’s current water rate is $2.76 per thousand gallons.
Village Administrator Ron Lambert says the village has been discussing the need for a water rate increase for quite some time. He says the last rate increase was in 2015, but before that, rates had not increased since 1998.
“We got a little bit behind and we tried to play catch-up a little bit in 2015. We’re just looking at doing something that’s in very small increments. We anticipate some updates needing to be done at the water treatment plant. As everyone knows, expenses are more now than they were in 1998. We’re just trying to maintain positive cash flow and meet all of our needs,” he says.
Lambert emphasizes the proposed updates to the water treatment plant are not related to the village’s new Joint Economic Development District with Franklin Township or the new Provia plant that’s being built there.
He says the committee’s decision to move forward with the plan was not an easy one to make.
“It’s a tough thing to go out and ask of people, but I think it’s time that we take a look at this as a necessary increase,” he says.
The committee is planning to bring a formal recommendation before Village Council at one of its upcoming meetings.
The next council meeting will be Tuesday, September 1, at 7:30 p.m. Meetings are held in the Strasburg Village Hall at 358 5th Street. SW.
Stacey Carmany, Tusco TV