North Olmsted sanitary sewer customers should brace for a six-year, 13% rate increase that’s expected to start in 2022.

City Council is scheduled Tuesday to adopt an eight-year sewer rate plan that includes planned increases starting in 2022 and continuing annually through 2027. Rates would go up 13% over the six-year-period.

City leaders are proposing to hold rates steady for 2020 and 2021 with no increase. But rates would go up 2% annually from 2022 through 2025. They would increase 2.5 % in 2026 and 2027.

If approved, the average monthly bill would increase from $43.03 to $48.94, or just more than $5 by 2027, according to information provided by North Olmsted Finance Director Carrie Copfer. The average customer would pay $60 more a year for sewer service by 2027.

The sewer bill is based on the amount of water a customer uses. The average home uses 500 cubic feet of water a month, Copfer said. Customers who use less water will pay less. Customers who use more water would pay more.

The rate plan would also affect the monthly minimum fee the city charges, which now is $10.51 for 100 cubic feet of water or less. That rate would jump to $11.95 a month, an increase of $1.44 a month by 2027.

The proposed rate increase would raise $182,182 in 2022. Gross estimated revenues that year for the city would be $10.89 million, according to figures provided by the city.

By 2027, gross estimated revenues would be $11.96 million, with the annual rate increase adding $252,664 to that amount.

Copfer said the rate increase would provide enough money to meet the financial needs of the North Olmsted sewage treatment plant and collection system, as well as projected cost of operations, maintenance and repairs.

The proposed increases are less than the increases the city instituted between 2011 and 2019, when rates went up 65% to meet Ohio EPA mandates to upgrade the North Olmsted sewage treatment plant.

City Council’s Environmental Control Committee recommended passing the proposal. Committee Chairwoman Mary Ellen Hemann said the city needs to make sure the plant can provide the proper services.

The proposal also would establish a homestead exemption program through the Cleveland Division of Water that would offer lower rates, depending on how much water is used. To qualify for that, the customer must be 65 or older, or totally and permanently disabled; must own and live at the property where the water is used and must have an annual income of less than $34,000 annually.

The proposal would also offer a water affordability program for families with lower incomes, which could be applied for through the CHN Housing Partners at 216-774-2349.

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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