PJ residents to see decrease in sewer rates

By Sheryl Roadcap - sroadcap@sidneydailynews.com

SIDNEY —An update on the sewer rates for Port Jefferson residents was discussed during Monday evening’s Sidney City Council workshop session.

Village residents will see a decrease in what they will be paying in 2018 compared to 2017.

William Blakely, Sidney utilities director, said the city has been providing sewer services for the village residents since 1998 when the city manager was authorized to enter into an agreement. The necessity for the agreement arose when the Ohio EPA told the village to stop the sewage that was going into the Great Miami River from on-lot septic systems.

In 2000, the city entered into a Wastewater Management Agreement and Wastewater Treatment Agreement with the village of Port Jefferson. These agreements, Blakely said, called for the village to construct a new collection system for sewer service for all customers within the village’s service area. The sewage would then be pumped to the city of Sidney’s sewer pump station on state Route 47 and then into the city’s wastewater treatment plant for treatment.

The agreement also called for the city to operate and maintain the village’s sewer system, pump station and perform the sewer billings on behalf of the village. The sewer rates charged to Port Jefferson are based on the city’s cost to operate and maintain the sewer system and perform the sewer billing plus a 50 percent outside corporation rate surcharge.

The city is required to adjust the annual charges by March 1 of each year.

The wastewater treatment rate for 2018, Blakely said, will be $2.30 per 100 cubic feet (Ccf) of sewage, which is a 16.1 percent decrease from 2017’s rate of $2.74 per Ccf of sewage. He said the village’s sewage flows increased in 2017 by 139.5 million gallons (MG) but due to a decrease in operational costs, there was a net decrease in the treatment rate per Ccf.

The management rates, he said, will be $1.42/Ccf for 2018, which is a 1.04 percent increase from 2017’s rate of $1.40/Ccf.

Blakely said village residents will pay $3.72/Ccf in 2018, which is a decrease of 10.4 percent from $4.15/Ccf charged in 2017.

Sidney received, in 2017, $31,030 in revenue from the Port Jefferson sewer charges, Blakely said. This was an average of $15.58 per customer per month. Additional charges are set by Port Jefferson for debt repayment and reserve.

Also during Monday’s workshop session, Law Director Jeffrey Amick was directed to draw up legislation for blanket legislation to allow him to initiate litigation for money owed to the city of Sidney.

Amick said passing an ordinance to provide such authorization would allow his office to pursue “ordinary” debts as they arise, opposed to waiting until the next council meeting for permission to proceed with litigation.

He pointed to a recent situation when the city filed litigation against Sidney property owners who failed to comply with the city’s inflow and infiltration (I&I) program by the cut off date. He said they “flexibility to do what they need to do. Amick said that on a daily basis people are coming into compliance and being taken off the I&I list, for example, or other debts owed are presented to his office.

It would “save unnecessary publication expense to provide greater flexibility (to) conduct routine legal matters … and lessen the need for multiple legislative enactments,” Amick said. The statutory authority, he said, does not specifically state that litigation must be authorized as a case by case basis, just that it must be authorized by City Council. He also noted that most other communities do not pursue debts owed by the same litigation filing process as the city of Sidney.

Council member Darryl Thurber asked how council could be sure Amick’s successor, when the time comes, will be as credible as Amick if they passed such an ordinance. Mayor Mike Barhorst responded by saying the city and City Council will hire and evaluate whoever would eventually take the law director’s job, and if they are not happy with the employee’s work, will fire that person.

Amick vowed to provide council with reports and keep members up to date about when litigation is being filed.

City Manager Mark Cundiff said the next Zoning Board meeting has been postponed until April. He also reviewed the Planning Commission Agenda set for Tuesday, Feb. 20, and reviewed prospective City Council Agenda items for the next 30 days.

In addition, council went into an executive session to prepare for possible investment or expenditure of public funds to be made in connection with an economic development project and for pending or imminent court action. No action was taken by council when they emmerged from the session.

By Sheryl Roadcap


Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4823.