County to give last presentations on 14-percent water, sewer rate hike

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County to give last presentations on 14-percent water, sewer rate hike

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Water went shooting 20 to 30 feet into the air after a main break in Washington Twp. in this file photo. Montgomery County is planning a 14 percent increase in water and sewer rates to generate revenue to make repairs to its aging water infrastructure. Tim Chesnut / Staff

Montgomery County water and sewer customers have a few more opportunities remaining to hear from officials about why rates are increasing 14 percent next year.

The county will give the last four of 11 presentations in Clayton, Jefferson Twp., Moraine and Washington Twp. at regularly scheduled council and township meetings over the next two weeks.

The rate increase is coming because of deteriorating infrastructure that has resulted in higher costs for maintenance and new construction coupled with a lack of state or federal funding, according to county officials.

“It may appear to be a relatively large increase,” County Administrator Joe Tuss previously said. “But when you look at where we’ve been from an historic standpoint, it’s about catching up and generating the revenue we need to invest.”

The average Montgomery County residential customer, now paying about $170, will see quarterly bills rise about $24 next year. In addition to the 14-percent hike in 2018, rates will go up 5.6 percent each year after through 2022, the county announced Nov. 9.

Montgomery County rate increases have averaged about 2.5 percent since 2007, which is below the state average of 4 percent, according to Ohio Environmental Protection Agency data.

Officials estimate about $750 million will need to be spent over the next 20 years to maintain and replace aging portions of the system that serves about 81,000 customers.

A larger portion of a customer’s bill will be the fixed charge, going from 20 percent to 40 percent, while consumption charges move from 80 to 60 percent. The increased fixed charge will provide more stable, long-term financing needed to upgrade and maintain the system the county values at $3.1 billion, said Pat Turnbull, the county’s Environmental Services director.

Turnbull said the county spends roughly $2 million annually to repair 300 or more water main breaks on the system primarily installed 60-70 years ago.

“The water mains are breaking more frequently. The sewer lines are cracking more frequently,” he said. “We are just reaching that point — similar to the roof on your house — when you’re having to patch leaks all the time, you get to a place where it’s time to put a new roof on”

While Montgomery County purchases water pumped by the city of Dayton, the county maintains a distribution system of 1,400 miles of water mains that provide drinking water and fire prevention for about 250,000 residents. The system also has 1,200 miles of sewer line and two wastewater plants.

County officials gave the presentation previously at meetings in Butler Twp., Centerville, Harrison Twp., Kettering, Miami Twp., Riverside and Trotwood.

Montgomery County water rate public presentations

Presentations will be made at regular township and city council meetings.

- Washington Twp., 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4

Township Offices, 8200 McEwen Road

- Jefferson Twp., 7 p.m., Dec. 5

Administration Building, One Business Park Dr., Dayton

- Clayton, 7:30 p.m., Dec. 7

Government Center, 6996 Taywood Rd., Englewood

- Moraine, 6 p.m., Dec. 14

Municipal Building, 4200 Dryden Rd.

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