By Brian Massie, Citizen Journalist
Thanks to a Willowick source for sending us this information.
Excerpts from the article:
“The city also recently learned that Euclid passed legislation in October of last year, increasing the sewer rate to Willowick by 25%, which was effective at the beginning of January.”
“Willowick was anticipating an increase to the sewer rate from Euclid, but not to this extent and without prior communication from Euclid,” said Mayor Michael Vanni.
According to Finance Director Cheryl Benedict, this is an increase of approximately $500,000 to the city.”…News-Herald
From the Euclid website for Euclid we found the fact sheet regarding the 2023 Sewer Rate changes:
Fact Sheet- 2023 Sewer Rate Changes
Aug 20, 2022
Ordinance 103-22 proposes an increase of sewer rates for all users.
What is the current rate and what is the new proposed rate?
** outside user rates also increasing
Who pays this? Anyone who is served by the Euclid Wastewater Treatment facility. This includes most Euclid residents, businesses and outside users including portions of South Euclid, portions of Richmond Heights, Willoughby Hills, Wickliffe and Willowick. [Emphasis added]
What does it pay for? The Waste Water Treatment Plant is operated through an enterprise fund (a self-supporting fund that is accounted for separate from other government operations), so the users pay for the operation, maintenance and capital costs associated with the plant and sewer system. All costs are attributed to the users through the sewer rate. There are 5 components of the sewer rate: OM&R, Capital, Cleveland fee, Peterson Fund, Waterline Construction fund. The increase is proposed for the OM&R and Capital components.
How is it paid? For Euclid residents, the sewer charge is paid through the Cleveland Water Department and billed with your monthly water bill.
Who determines the rates needed? The Wastewater Treatment Fund is reviewed and audited each year by an independent firm, B. Fink Consulting. The report is presented to City Service Committee each year for review and the rates are set by Euclid City Council legislation.
Why is this increase needed? Without additional revenue, the Wastewater Treatment fund projected fund balance will be in a deficit position (a potential negative $2.6 million). The need for a rate increase is due to higher costs of materials and services associated with the operations of the plant and Consent Decree mandated projects. Specifically, we have seen large increases in utility costs, chemical costs, replacement part costs, preventative maintenance item costs, disposal costs, higher transportation costs, and more.
Are there other options? Cost cutting and efficiency measures have been implemented and are always being explored.
What is the timeframe? Due to the high variability of costs, the legislation sets the rate for only one year. City Council will have to set the rates for 2024 prior to the end of the year in 2023.
How does Euclid’s rates compare to other communities?
Euclid’s rates remain one of the lower rates when you compare costs of sewer operations:
Euclid* 50.22 62.70
NEORSD 110.95 115.60
Bedford Hts 68.20
*OM&R and Capital portions
Additionally, Euclid’s rate includes the cost of stormwater management while other agencies have an additional fee.
When was the last time rates were increased? The current rate structure was passed by Council in 2012 and that rate structure included incremental increases in operational and capital components of the rate. This rate structure has held up since 2012 addressing operational needs along with projects and activities required under the Consent Decree.
Where can I get more information?
City Council held 2 Public Service Committee meetings: One on 6/1/22 and one on 8/24/22. Click here to view those meetings online.
The City of Euclid hired an independent consulting firm to conduct a study on the Annual Revenue Requirements and Rates for Wastewater Services. Download that study here.