Archived Story

Niles raises water rates, approves ice rink

Published 7:52pm Monday, January 28, 2013

Water was the hot topic of Monday’s Niles City Council meeting. Specifically water rates and an ice rink.

Council members approved single-digit rate increases to both wastewater and water rates effective in March, while also approving a site for the city’s ice-skating rink.

By unanimous vote, water rates will increase 3.75 percent (about 91 cents per month for the average customer) each year through the year 2017.

Wastewater rates will increase 4.25 percent (or 97 cents per month on average) this year and next year, and 2.5 percent for 2016 and 2017.

Ric Huff, city manager, said the rates would be reviewed annually.

Both increases were recommended by Utility Financial Solutions based on a “rate projection and cost of service study” the company performed in July.

Dawn Lund, vice president of the company, told the council the rate hikes were necessary in order to generate sufficient revenues to properly fund each utility’s various expenses, bond payments and capital improvement programs.

“I know nobody likes to pay more, but I think the increases are very small, and I think the outcome will be very large,” said councilman Scott Clark.

Lund said the increases brought the city’s water rate to about average compared to surrounding communities, while the adjusted wastewater rate was still second lowest among surrounding communities.

“These rate increases, frankly, are not as high as we are seeing across the country,” she said.

In other business, councilmembers said yes to ice skating.

The city agreed to enter into a recreational license agreement with American Electric Power Company for the use of 3.99 acres located at 527 N. Front St. as the recreational site for an ice skating rink.

Councilman Tim Skalla said, weather permitting, the rink could be up and twirling by the end of the week

“We have volunteers lined up — if we can get the key early tomorrow, we’ll probably have it set up by the end of the day,” he said. “If the snow cooperates, we could get lucky and have ice skating by Saturday.”

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