City water rates likely to be bumped up

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Napoleon residents will likely see increases in their water rates in the next three years, but they will be considerably less than those imposed in recent years.

John Courtney of Courtney & Associates recently completed a water rate study for Napoleon. The last water rate study was completed in 2011 and recommended water rates increase by 20 percent. Council decided to phase that in over three years.

On Monday, Courtney met with the Napoleon Board of Public Affairs and the Napoleon Water, Sewer, Refuse, Recycling and Litter Committee to discuss future rates, and both recommended to council that water revenues be increased by 3 percent each year for the next three years, beginning in 2014.

Courtney looked at data leading up to 2017, when a proposed regional water treatment plant is anticipated to come online.

“We’re not talking about any significant increases until the water plant comes on,” Courtney said.

He added the figures assumed no growth in water sales in any of the divisions. In fact, beginning in 2017, Napoleon will eliminate wholesale water sales since the customers currently receiving those will be partners in the new water treatment plant.

On the other hand, Courtney said the production of water should decrease, and Napoleon will receive some revenue on raw water sales to the county.

In addition, City Manager Jon Bisher said he has been approached by the City of Wauseon about that municipality possibly purchasing water from Napoleon. This would be in addition to the 1 million gallons Napoleon currently supplies to Wauseon as part of a previous contract.

“They want to serve more customers in eastern Fulton County, and all of their studies say the best source is the Maumee River,” Bisher said.

Courtney pointed out the current rates would actually be enough to cover revenue requirements in 2014 and 2015, but in 2016 they will not.

“It makes more sense to start some incremental rates increases (now),” Courtney said.

The BOPA and committee also recommended council allow city officials continue to move forward with an agreement with multiple partners on the proposed water treatment plant. The partners would include the Henry County Regional Water and Sewer District, the Henry County commissioners and the villages of Liberty Center, Malinta and Florida.

Napoleon Law Director Trevor Hayberger said he envisions one master agreement that would include two or three sections, including how operations and maintenance would be handled and financing.

It was mentioned the debt to construct the water treatment plant will likely be assessed to county residents that receive water from the facility and the county will be the assessing entity. As part of the deal, Napoleon will give up control of the large water tower on the north side, meaning the county will likely take over maintenance of the structure.

Bisher pointed out Napoleon will still maintain water distribution capabilities, despite not being able to charge a surcharge to satellite communities as it does now. The distribution ability is important for any future annexation opportunities.

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