Dec 16, 2013

Why are area water rates so high?

Is there any information on why our water rates are so high? If we're so close to the lake and a relatively small city, then why are our rates higher than folks who live in a metropolis far some fresh water? While our pockets are getting emptied month after month, who is making off with our money? Mike from Sandusky

The question piggybacks off of city officials approving the installation of new water meters.

Sandusky engineer Aaron Klein provided the following answer:

No. I have not compared our rates to other areas.

I can say that we are contemplating a rate study to look into our rates and that this will assuredly be a line of required work by the consultant.

I can also state that a lot goes into sewer and water costs as far as upkeep of existing equipment and infrastructure that are not typically thought of by the general public.

Finally, the rate study will analyze how our current sewer rates could be affected by the requirements of the Ohio EPA through the general plan process and how our current water rates could be affected by contracts with the county. Unfortunately, I can't be any more specific until the rate studies are completed.

The Mailbag is a daily feature on sanduskyregister.com. Each weekday at noon, we will post one question from a reader and answer it. To ask a question, send a letter to The Mailbag at 314 W. Market St., or email mailbag@sanduskyregister.com. Please include your first name and a location in the email, e.g. “John from Decatur Street."

Comments

The Bizness

My typical bill is $17.00 a month in the city of Sandusky, and I am assuming that is the least it could be because its never lower than $16 and some change. I guess my advice to some people is that you should look into conserving water, it is good for the environment, and good for your pocket book. When I bought my house I installed low flow faucets, and low flow shower head. I also only do one or two loads of laundry a week, and use the dishwasher. Get a rain barrel to harvest your water, and use that to water your garden.

Unassumer

good advice. I have always wanted to get a rain barrell for the garden!

Donegan

http://www.ncsl.org/research/env...
Be sure to comply with the state and local laws while harvesting rain water. Lord knows if the government can tax or fine you for it they will find a way.

God Of Thunder

Unassumer...Look at the Facebook page of Seamless Gutters Plus..They have a great selection of rain barrels and some ingenious ways to switch water from your regular downspout, into the barrel.

JMOP

My water bill averages on $60 a month from Northern Ohio Rural Water

kris63063

My water bill averages $60 per month in Perkins township and that is just for two adults.

ilkyp

So, let's do a study about the rates.

City pays for study to get the desired results: Rates are good, but now they have to go up a bit more to pay for the study.

yea right

plezz dont complain..i lived in snorwalk a few years ago and i paid over 100 bucks..they had raised rates from 9 per thousand to 19 per thousand in just a cpl of years..thats greed

yea right

b

Sandusksquach

How can he not have at least looked at rates for other areas? When they raised rates a few years back didn't they explain the higher area costs by saying it was expensive for a small city to pump water all the way down to the southern end of the county?

Erie County Resident

The rates are all over the place out in the county.
Perkins has one of the highest even though it is close to the source.
Now go to Huron miles away where Jack Meyers lives and the rates are low because he is the one setting the rates.
How about a single rate for ALL county users???

Informed

Huron's water rates are not low!

Starr

I live in Huron and my water/sewer bill averages $87.00 a month for 3 adults. I do not think that is low like you stated Erie County Resident.

BabyMomma

Can I pay my water bill with my food stamp card?

Unassumer

no, but a high water bill might help you qualify for food stamps.

Unassumer

Port Clinton probably has the highest water and sewage rates in the state. Luckily I get my water through Oak Harbor and it's between $38 and $45 a month. When we lived in PC, it was always close to $200 a month!

KnuckleDragger

I agree Northern Ohio Rural water is highway robbery. Our bill runs between $63 and &80/mo and mind you that is for water alone since they do not provide sewer. Their customers are all on septic systems. When I lived out west. We lived in the desert with scarce water resources. Our monthly bill was $62 and that covered culinary water (drinking water), secondary water (untreated water for watering your yard which was not metered and unlimited use), sewer, and trash. I've lived in many areas of the US and the water rates we enjoy here, so close to a major body of fresh water are the highest I have experienced.

MrSandusky

Oregon Ohio is vary similar to Sandusky is terms of size. A family of 5 there pays $18 a quarter for water. They are on septic so I am not sure about sewer rates, but I am told that water and sewer combined runs about $40 on average there.

Just like in most things, Erie County pays more for some reason an official will state.

middleclassworker

I pay about $87.00 average a month ( with low flow washer, dishwasher, low volume toilet, and only two adults) it's more than my TV, Gas, and electric bills. The city has a monopoly established for supplying water and setting the rates. The county tried push for a bulk rate on water for anyone not living in sundusky, and was only successful after considering building their own supply. The city seems to use this water fund as a cash cow for their other departments. I think water rates should be regulated by higher government office to prevent city greed in a county environment utility.

The Bizness

What city are you in? If your in Sandusky you have a leak somewhere, or are missing something.

middleclassworker

out in the county sewer and water, Perkins twp. I have checked with the water department, I have no leaks. The only bill that beats my water bill is my wireless smart phones.

trafficman

Water and sewer monies can only be used for water and sewer depts. Not other depts.

middleclassworker

But, if the water department buys the a new truck, backhoe, trailer, ect. they only have to use for a short time.....then another department takes it and they buy another. It becomes the city equipment purchasing department. Cash Cow!!

Darkhorse

Well, someone has to pay for the EPA mandates. I wonder if the city is doing the study to hike up the cost even more. Someone has to pay for the new meters that will be installed.

SamAdams

I've no doubt that the water rates in Sandusky are less than in some places, and more than in others (for a more direct comparison, my parents live very near a very large lake, and their water bill is about five TIMES more than mine). I DO know that a town in New Jersey improved its infrastructure AND lowered its water rates when it privatized the water and sewer some years ago...

I actually have less of a quibble with the water rates than with how they're calculated. In the summer months when we water lawns and gardens, that water goes nowhere near the sewer system and yet we're charged as if it did. When I asked about a separate meter (some municipalities have them for outdoor spigots so you don't pay sewer charges for filling your swimming pool, etc.), I was told it would be okay with the City if I spent upwards of $5,000 to install a separate water line, but that there wasn't anything else they could do. Really? REALLY???

Combine a lack of customer service or any impetus to solve problems, AND what appears to be yet ANOTHER call for ANOTHER expensive study, is it any wonder people complain, whether the rates alone are complaint-worthy or not?

middleclassworker

Why does the city have to charge the county the same price as a Sandusky resident when the county maintains the meters, not Sandusky?

kURTje

Lucky me! Have my own water & sanitation...unless "they" make that illegal. So glad we did not purchase Northern Ohio Rural water, all it does is increase.

oldpirate

How much water never reaches the consumer? Large amounts of water which cost the taxpayer to treat leach into the ground because of water lines in disrepair.

God Of Thunder

And that's why rates have to be where they are.. To create money to fix old infrastructure.

middleclassworker

When the county and city were talking about water several years ago. I recall that the county was responsible for all the water not accounted for that left the water plant. So any water not accounted for on city resident meters, Meaning that every leak, hydrant flush, fire, and faulty meters are being paid for by county water users.....doesn't seem fair.

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