Oakwood OKs higher water, sewer rates for city customers

Oakwood water and sewer customers will be paying higher rates starting next month.

Typically, residential customers in Oakwood use between 300 and 900 cubic feet of water per month, according to the city.

This would translate into water bills increasing $7 to $13 a month while fees for sewer services would jump $7 to $14 in the same time period, officials said.

The rate hikes, endorsed by Oakwood’s budget review committee earlier, are “needed in order to meet the operational and upcoming capital needs,” Councilwoman Leigh Turben said.

The hikes, approved in a 5-0 vote Monday night, will start Jan. 1, according to the city.

The last rate increases for those respective services came in 2017 and 2018, Oakwood records show. Before its 2017 water rate hike, those fees were last increased in 1994, City Manager Norbert Klopsch said.

“Our water system is fully automated, which keeps our labor costs low. We do not need employees working 24-7 to operate the system,” Klopsch said.

“Also, our capital improvement expenses have been modest over the past couple of decades. We anticipate that capital improvement expenses will increase over the next decade or two as the infrastructure ages,” he added.

In an Ohio regional water rate survey of more than 60 jurisdictions, Oakwood has been among the eight lowest since 2013, finishing in the top four six times, including each year since 2021, documents show.

Since the city’s last water rate hike, Beavercreek, Dayton, Huber Heights, Kettering, Miamisburg and Springboro have all increased prices with each city except Springboro doing so since the start of 2022, according to survey results.

Montgomery County sets the rates for about 85,500 customers in more than 10 jurisdictions, including Centerville, Kettering, Riverside, and Miami and Washington Twps.

Greene County does the same for Beavercreek and Beavercreek Twp., Bellbrook, Sugarcreek Twp., outlying rural areas, and sections of Centerville and Kettering, said Mark Chandler, county sanitary engineering director.

Oakwood produces its own water, and operates and maintains a distribution system, Klopsch said.

Oakwood has pipe connections to Dayton and Montgomery County systems as a back-up, but these are “only used at the very rare times when we have a situation where we are unable to produce our own water,” Klopsch said.

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