Council votes 7-1 to increase sewer rates

No rate increase 2018, a 1.5 percent in 2019, and a 3 percent increase 2020-2022

By Melanie Yingst -

TROY — On Monday, Council voted 7-1 to increase sewer rates beginning in 2019 to pay for Wastewater Treatment plant and other sewer related improvements.

Council member Brock Heath was not present at the meeting. Robin Oda was the lone “No” vote against the sewer rate increase. On Tuesday, Oda said she would have liked more time to discuss the rate increase proposal, which was why she voted it down.

According to the committee report, the requested adjustments are a zero percent increase 2018, a 1.5 percent increase for 2019 and a 3 percent increase for each year 2020 through 2022. The rates have been recommended by the city auditor to provide stability within the Sewer Fund and to provide the funding for three significant projects from the Sewer Fund in the next five years.

Oda asked Director of Public Service and Safety Patrick Titterington if the rate increase was permanent, if it dropped off after the five years, or returned back to the current rate once the projects were paid for.

Titterington said at the end of the five-year period, city officials will evaluate wastewater treatment budget and operation funds and base a recommendation for rates at that time.

President Marty Baker said the rate can only increase if council approves it in five years.

The three projects include the replacement of the UV disinfection system with an estimated cost of $800,000 to $1 million. The process is used in the summer and is required by the Ohio EPA. The second project is to continue to reline sewer systems, which costs $100,000 per year. The third project is to replace four screw pumps at the Wastewater Plant, which is estimated to cost $1.2 million.

Resident Lester Conard said, “it seems like we are constantly raising, raising, and raising” in regards to sewer rates. Conard asked why the city doesn’t seek grants or pull funds from its general fund to pay for the capital improvement projects at the wastewater treatment plant.

In other news:

William Lutz, at-large council member-elect who will take office in January, addressed council regarding its proposed Amended Complete Streets Policy. Council later voted 7-1 to amend the resolution to remove the Mayor’s Cycling Advocacy Committee from the policy. Council member Robin Oda was the lone “No” vote.

The changes include to define and clarify the scope, extent, and decision making steps and to include public notification processes, prior to decisions related to adding bike shared roads versus dedicated bike lanes.

The resolution will go to a third reading by council as amended.

Prior to the amendment, Lutz said he didn’t feel as though his questions were “adequately answered” in regards to the Mayor’s Cycling Committee’s role in the future recommendations of bike lanes in the city.

Lutz said he isn’t sure if the Mayor’s Cycling committee is the right committee for the Complete Streets notification and recommendations due to no publicized or set meetings and it meets at will.

Lutz said either the city should improve its publication of alternative transportation with street projects or select a council committee that would review the recommendations.

Lester Conard said, with the recent incident in New York City on Oct. 31 when a subject drove purposely on a bike lane and killed eight people, “We are wanting more bike lanes and putting more people in danger if a terrorist or someone does want to run someone down. I think we are better staying with the streets the way they are” and use share lanes instead of dedicated lanes.

Council approved the resolution to extend duty injury leave for Troy Firefighter Brandon Knisley from 90 days to 120 days.

• O-27-2017 Rezoning of Inlots 1302-1304 to B-1, Local Retail District, 322 W. Market St., first reading

The site is the former Valero Station. The rezoning seeks to combine three lots into one to build a new gas station. Public hearing set for Nov. 20.

• O-28-2017 Rezoning of Parcel C06-082005 from R-1AAA, Single-Family Residential to R-3, Single- Family Residential, 2436 McKaig Road, first reading. A public hearing also set for Nov. 20.

No rate increase 2018, a 1.5 percent in 2019, and a 3 percent increase 2020-2022

By Melanie Yingst