WARSAW — Examples of how the proposed sewer rate would affect different customers were shared during the Warsaw Common Council meeting held last night, Nov. 5. Some small businesses could see a sewer bill increase of up to 51 percent.
For this second phase of the rate increase, the city decided to switch to a cost of service billing method. This means that customers will be charged on their usage, and the raise is not an across the board hike. This increase is necessary because of the $10 million collection system project in 2017 and the current $31 million wastewater treatment plant expansion which is expected to start construction in 2019.
The average residential unit, based on a usage of 4,000 gallons per month, will see a bill of $41.15, around a 26 percent increase from current bills. That total increase is less than what was originally forecasted in 2017.
But small business owners will see an even larger rise.
Examples were provided for both a business with a 1-inch meter using 11,000 gallons per month and a 2-inch meter using 89,000 gallons per month. The 1-inch meter customer will see a new bill of $108.68, a 51 percent increase, and the 2-inch meter will see a bill of $695.70, a 42 percent increase.
It was suggested that some of these businesses could have a large meter size but not need that amount of flow. Business owners were encouraged to talk with Indiana American Water to see if they could get a smaller meter size, which would lower their bill.
There was also an example shown for an apartment complex, Lakeland Villa Apartments. Based on the information provided by Umbaugh, the apartment complex would see an 11 percent decrease in price. The information includes the 145 apartments using an average of 1,240 gallons per month. Jeffrey Rowe, of Umbaugh & Associates, stated that this information was provided by the city and Indiana American Water.
But Warsaw resident Chad Zartman provided the council members with what he described as accurate information given to him by Lakeland Villa Apartments. His provided information shows an average usage of 3,141 gallons per month per apartment. If this information is correct, the example decrease of 11 percent would be inaccurate.
Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer stated that example information did seem low and that information provided to him from Orchard Ridge Apartments showed usage of 7,500 gallons per apartment per month. Tom Layman of Canterbury Apartments was present at the meeting and stated that each of his 148 units uses an average of 3,200 gallons per month.
The discrepancy in the example usage numbers and the other number provided during the meeting made discussion tense.
“So what’s your suggestion?” asked Thallemer.
Zartman replied, “Use actual numbers.”
The board voted 5-2 to pass the ordinance on first reading. Board members Ron Shoemaker and Cindy Dobbins opposed. A public hearing on the ordinance and its possible adoption will occur at the next Warsaw Common Council meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19.
The board also heard the second reading of the sewage works bond ordinance. This ordinance was also approved 5-2, with Shoemaker and Dobbins opposing.
In other news:
- Fiscal plans and public hearings for the Scroggs, Williams and Eisenhower/Millers annexations were heard. These ordinances will be voted on at the next council meeting.
- Transfer ordinances were approved for the Lincoln Elementary sidewalk project, street department and fire department. The rules were suspended and all ordinances were passed on both first and final readings.
- Bowen Center was approved for their petition to vacate an undeveloped roadway.