Tallmadge -- Sewer rates for two-thirds of the households and businesses in Tallmadge -- those whose sewers are serviced by the city of Akron -- will increase by 15 percent as of March 1.
Rates for sewers serviced by the Summit County Department of Environmental Services [DOES] won't be affected.
Sewer rates are based on the amount of water consumption as recorded by water meter readings, and water and sewer charges are combined into one quarterly bill.
"This means on your minimum bill your rate will go up about $4.50 per month," said Mayor Dave Kline. The minimum quarterly charge of $90.79 is for water usage of 2,000 cubic feet or less.
DOES customers pay about the same sewer rates as Akron customers pay, he said.
The increases are the most recent in a series of rate hikes over the past few years as the city continues to try to maintain the balance in its water and sewer fund while dealing with increases it has been handed down from Akron and the DOES, according to Kline.
Akron has been raising the prices it has been charging municipalities so that it can pay for repairs to combined sewers mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he said.
As of Jan. 1, 2013, those who have sewers treated by the DOES experienced rate increases of 10 percent per quarterly billing cycle, while those whose sewers are treated by Akron had a 25 percent rate hike.
Tallmadge Public Service Director Bryan Esler said at the time the city administration and City Council could no longer refrain from passing along the rate increases. The increases were intended to maintain the balance of the water fund, not grow it, so the city could maintain existing operations.
The rates for the DOES customers also increased in March of 2012. Esler said he knew at that time the increases wouldn't bring in enough revenue to cover what the county was charging Tallmadge, but he chose to implement the increases in increments rather than impose one large rate hike.
Akron customers' sewer rates were last raised in 2010, he said.
Kline said the 15 percent increases are lower than the 30 to 60 percent he expected to have to pass on.
He said the city will need to raise sewer rates again next year, but by how much has yet to be determined.
"The key is for residents to conserve water as much as you can and be smart about the water you use because your sewer bill is directly related to how much water you consume," Kline said.
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