Streetsboro City Council approved a 1.5% increase in water rates through 2027, which will be on top of the annual 2% rate increases.
Since 2005, per city ordinance, Streetsboro residents have paid 2% more each year on their water bills in addition to whatever the county charges. That won’t change.
But, looking at imminent capital expenses and meter replacements, Finance Director Jenny Esarey says 2% isn’t enough even with some $1.7 million Streetsboro received from the American Rescue Plan Act.
The ordinance was passed as a 3.5% increase, which accounts for the 2% over what the county charges plus the new 1.5% rate hike. The higher rates will take effect Jan. 1, 2022.
Factoring in these increases, residents paying the city’s minimum charge of $58.32 per quarter will see an increase to $60.36 in 2022, $62.47 in 2023, and reaching $71.69 in 2027. Families paying $400 a quarter now would see an increase to $491.70 in 2027.
Though Esarey recommended a 1.75% annual increase, Council Member Justin Ring advocated for less. A 1.5% rate hike would create a temporary deficit from which the city could quickly recover, he said.
Service Director Bill Miller noted that the city needs at least $500,000 to cover emergencies such as a failed water line. Ring said the 1.5% increase would provide that, and a 1.75% increase would not provide significantly more money.
However, if the 1.5% rate hike proves not to be enough, council can revisit additional increases later if necessary, Esarey said.