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Published: Saturday, 12/4/2010

Toledo revises proposed rate increase for water, sewer

Toledo's department of public utilities has altered the proposed rate increases to be considered by City Council during a public hearing 6 p.m. Monday.

The proposed increases for water and sanitary sewer have been reduced by 0.9 percent, updating the proposed changes to a 9 percent increase for water use and 12.5 percent hike for sanitary sewer rates annually for four years.

Storm water rates would increase by 9.9 percent a year, which is no change from the initial proposal.

The utility proposal was changed in a Dec. 3 memo distributed to City Council with their regular meeting packets after Mayor Mike Bell suggested the department of public utilities further consider ways to minimize rate increases to be imposed on customers, said Tom Crothers, the city's director of public utilities. The altered proposal was made possible by postponing some of the planned sewer upgrades.

“It made perfect sense for the mayor to ask us to do that,” Mr. Crothers said Saturday. “Moving out some of the capital projects will not in any way increase the risk that the system faces and it will provide a measure of relief for our customers.”

Mr. Crothers cites the main reason for the fee boost as a $521 million sewer upgrade that started in 2005, antiquated pipelines and equipment, an inadequate history of rate increases, and an unexpected decline in water use since 2006.

The Monday public hearing will be held in City Council chambers.

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