GREEN: Rates for residents and businesses using Aqua Ohio water service will rise incrementally over the next four years.
A contract approved Tuesday provides Aqua Ohio with 3.5 percent annual increases through Dec. 31, 2016.
City Council approved the rate hike by a 6-1 vote, with Ward 4 Councilman John “Skip” Summerville opposed.
The pact, negotiated by Mayor Dick Norton with James H. Purtz, Aqua Ohio vice president and division manager, is retroactive to April 1.
The cost for 1,000 gallons of water per month is increasing from $38.98 for the past year to $40.34 now, or $1.36 more, according to Aqua Ohio figures.
Beginning next January, the same usage will cost $41.06, with the final increase, Jan. 1, 2016, going to $44.73 per month.
Councilman-at-large Chris Humphrey and Summerville said they felt the city was placed in a tough position, considering Aqua Ohio could take the proposed increase to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and possibly be granted as much as an 8 percent hike.
Summerville, who has been a critic of Aqua Ohio because of what he described as huge profits reported by Aqua Ohio’s parent, Aqua America, said he believed the administration “has cut a good deal, but I’m voting no.”
Humphrey voted to approve the deal.
As part of the agreement, Aqua Ohio is to provide $1.73 million in waterlines for the city.
Planning Director Wayne Wiethe noted that approximately $890,000 of that is planned for waterlines along Greensburg Road between Stoney Pointe Drive and Steese Road; Chenoweth Road between St. Andrews Court and the north city limits; and CAK Phase III waterlines to run from Global Gateway to Greensburg Road.
Massillon Road resident Joel Helms opposed the legislation, saying it is unfair to those already connected to Aqua Ohio lines to have to pay for the proposed additional infrastructure as part of the rate increases.