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Huron looks at sewer rate change

Andy Ouriel • May 21, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Huron council plans to meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight at City Hall, 417 Main St., to debate a proposed 3 percent increase in sewer rates throughout Erie County.

The average household in the county pays $87 every three months for sewer services. The proposed rate increase would bump that to $89.61 for the same service. 

The increase would create an additional $100,000 of income a year, reserved for either sewer-related maintenance or development projects. It’s been almost a decade since the county’s sewer rates increased, Huron city manager Andy White said. But before county officials approve a change, they need Huron’s permission.

About two years ago, Huron and Erie County used separate sewer operations. When the two entities merged in 2011, Erie County kept a Huron sewer monitoring committee in place to serve as a watchdog for all related activity, including setting new price structures.

“They can’t arbitrarily increase the rate,” White said. “It’s a very modest increase in the grand scheme of things.”

Every member of Huron’s sewer monitoring committee, comprised of non-elected officials, supported the increase.

If at least four of seven council members approve, the legislation goes to county commissioners sometime this week, White said. County commissioners would then either ratify or reject the paperwork.

Majority approval by Huron council and Erie County commissioners could mean sewer rates would increase by as soon as July. The proposed increase could also offset a massive amount of debt amassed in years past by both Erie County and Huron’s sewer systems.

Combined, the two sewer districts still owe about $40 million entering 2013. Taxpayers will continue paying off the debt until 2041 — that is, if no new debt is added.

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