NB council defers water rate hike decision


By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News



NEW BREMEN – The New Bremen Village Council decided to defer a decision on a water and sewer rate hike until after the first of the year.

At their Dec. 29 meeting, the Council voted unanimously to restart the three reading process on a proposal to increase rates. Studies have shown a rate hike would be necessary to cover both deficit spending on the village water and wastewater infrastructure as well as cover anticipated costs to replace or repair the current wastewater system.

When the village could not meet updated EPA requirements for the amount of heavy metals and other chemicals being released from the wastewater plant, a study was initiated to determine the funding needed to fix the problem.

At the Dec. 13 council meeting, consultant Nathan Davis of Great Lakes Community Partnership said the current system of charging for water and sewer service was not financially self-sufficient, at times dipping into income tax revenues to pay for shortfalls.

In order to keep the revenue equal to output, Davis suggested the average 2022 water bill should amount to $23.20 for a typical household using 600 cubic foot per month. In that bill would be a basic charge of $11 and $3.05 per hundred feet of water used. The current average bill for the same service is $18.14. Over a five year term, gradual increases in the basic rate and usage charge would have the bill rise to an average of $28.20 with a minimum charge of $15 and $3.30 per hundred feet of water used in 2026.

In regards to the sewage rate, Davis recommended a more aggressive program to increase revenues to match costs. In 2022, he suggested the average monthly bill be $25.40 which includes a monthly minimum charge of $10 up from the current $5. At this time, the average sewage bill is $13.12. Further, he suggested gradual increases until the total average 2026 bill be raised to $37.00.

In other action, Finance Committee Chair Jacob Larger reported that the village’s November receipts totaled $1,172,140.23 and December expenses were $3.495,448.16. Larger said the December expenses were higher than normal due to paying off the EMT/Police building ($1.6 million), and two Ohio Public Works loans ($545,000).

In other action, Council approved appropriating $20,105,124.14 for the village’s 2022 budget. Village employees received a 3% across-the-board pay increase with an affirmative council vote.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.