July 25, 2016

Mostly clear

Medina County can expect water bills to go up about 5% in July

Water bills could go up 5 percent, or $2.25 a month, for the average customer of the Rural Lorain County Water Authority in Lorain and Medina counties to offset rising water costs, according to general manager Tim Mahoney.

The cost of purchasing water from Avon Lake will go up 11 percent in July and the water authority purchases about 90 percent of its water from Avon Lake, Mahoney said.

The average user of 5,800 gallons of water a month now pays $45.26 and would pay $47.51 under the rate increase proposal pending before the water authority, he said.

The 5 percent rate increase would bring in about $400,000 a year to cover the extra cost of water from Avon Lake, Mahoney said.

The minimum monthly water bill of $20.93 would go up $1.04 to $21.97, Mahoney said.

The water authority distributes about 2.5 billion gallons of water a year to more than 32,500 customers in seven counties.

Its board of trustees is expected to take up the increase at its meeting 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Without the increase, Mahoney said the water authority would have less money to extend lines and do capital improvements.

Last year, the water authority took in more than $1.9 million than it spent, but most of that money is allocated for projects this year, Mahoney said.

Mahoney said the authority is planning to spend $300,000 for line extensions, $250,000 for relocating water lines related to road and bridge projects, $200,000 to purchase construction and distribution vehicles, $30,000 for water meter repair, $50,000 for office equipment, $100,000 for miscellaneous expenses such as new pumps, $50,000 for a computerized mapping system, $50,000 for a new storage building in Sullivan Township in Ashland County and $882,000 for a new water tower in Troy Township in Ashland County.

In addition to the rate increase, Mahoney said the water authority is asking townships and villages to shoulder a bigger burden of maintaining 628 fire hydrants, a move that would save $60,000 a year.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.