Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Council raises water, sewer fees for new buildings

Friday October 9, 2015 9:43 PM

The Johnstown Village Council approved an amendment to the rate structures for water and sewer capacity and tap fees during its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Water capacity fees increased by 77 percent, sewer capacity fees increased 31 percent, but the tap fees for both remained $375.

The fees only apply to new homes or commercially used buildings in the village that will be installing a new water or sewer tap connecting to the village system. It will not affect anyone currently connected to the system village officials said.

Village Manager Jim Lenner said in an e-mail fees were set when the new water plant was built 20 years ago and have not changed since.

He said the capacity fees are meant to build cash reserves to upgrade the plants when capacity becomes less than 10 percent.

"That way we do not have to borrow more money which helps keep water rates low," Lenner said.

"Based on current prices of expanding the water and wastewater plant and to replace aging infrastructure, we had to increase the cost to connect to our system," Lenner said.

He went on to say the analysis conducted by the village engineer actually recommended a higher increase, however, village officials do not plan to institute the higher increase until the year 2020.

The charges, passed unanimously by village council, will take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

Under the new rates, if a person installs a new sewer line they will be charged a $375 tap fee and a $6,000 capacity charge and if they connect a new water line they will have a $375 tap fee and $8,890 capacity charge.

Only two-fifths of the capacity and tap fees will be charged for locally bonded government projects.

The amendment comes after the Johnstown-Monroe Local School District Board of Education recently clashed with the village, asking for and eventually receiving lower water and sewer capacity and tap fees for the new schools.

Other matters

Johnstown resident Sherman Ryan told council members he was concerned about drugs in the Rolling Meadows neighborhood.

"My daughter is living next to a drug house," Ryan said.

"We see the people coming and going at all hours," he said.

"We have talked to Johnstown police about this and they said they knew what went on in that house," Ryan said.

"It seems like there's something we should do to prevent him from operating this drug business. I get that this may not be the police's top priority, but it's still an issue for us."

Mayor Sean Staneart said he had also noticed an upswing in drug use in the village and would like to see this issue resolved.

"I hope our (police) chief is working on a proactive plan to tackle this issue," Staneart said. We will check with the police department and see what's going on."

The next village council meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at 599 S. Main St.

http://www.thisweeknews.com/content/stories/johnstown/news/2015/10/09/council-raises-water-sewer-fees-for-new-buildings.html