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Published: Wednesday, 5/27/2009

Monroe water bills expected to go up 4.6% in summer


MONROE City residents and other consumers who get water from the Monroe municipal water system can expect to pay more this summer.

City council last week gave first reading to an ordinance that will increase bills of average water customers by 4.6 percent.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held at council s June 1 meeting, when the panel is expected to vote on the ordinance.

Barry LaRoy, the city s director of water and wastewater utilities, said the rate hike is designed to offset the systemwide falloff in demand for water and pay for improvements in the system.

The water consumption of the nearly 15,000 users of the system, which serves the city, the townships of Monroe, Raisinville, and Exeter, and the village of Maybee, was down 4.2 percent last year, he said.

Even with the increase, which follows a 20.9 percent increase in 2008 and 13.9 percent hike in 2007, consumers will still be charged the lowest of any water supplier in Monroe County.

South County Water District, which serves about 11,000 customers in Bedford, Erie, and LaSalle townships, has enacted a small increase that users will begin paying on June 1.

Paul Steinman, director of the Temperance-based system, said rate increases charged by the city of Toledo are passed on to customers. The fee of $3.06 for 1,000 gallons will increase to $3.12 under the new charge.

While rates will vary by location, Mr. LaRoy said the average 4.6 percent increase would equate to about 2,300 cubic feet of water usage for a $38 quarterly bill, or a hike of about $7.

In comparison, a customer in the South County Water District who uses the same amount of water pays about $77 quarterly.

Mr. LaRoy said the rate increase reflects increases in the system s debt obligation and operating costs, and in infrastructure improvements to replace deterating water lines.

We are doing alot of reinvesment into the system, he said. We are in the process of replacing 15 miles of old lines over the next three years.

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