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Council looks into increasing water rates

By J.T. Whitehouse

March 24, 2017
The Town Crier

Canfield City Council looked into increasing water rates at the March 15 meeting after discussing the several issues that have affected the water department's finances.

City Manager Joe Warino said the city of Youngstown soon will negotiate rates and could raise the price it charges the city. The higher rate the city could be paying to buy bulk water from Youngstown will require an increase in the rates it charges customers.

"If we go with a six percent increase, it would increase the cost per 1,000 gallons of water by 50 cents," Warino said. "If we go with an eight percent increase, it will add another $.67 per 1,000 gallons."

He explained the water rates go into the operating fund that covers the operations of the water department and the cost of the water. The balance in this fund is getting low, and an increase of six percent would bring in about $100,000 by year's end and $150,000 for the eight percent increase.

The other problem is the capital fund that covers the cost of replacing old, outdated lines. Warino said this fund also is diminishing. At present, he said, it is set at $1 per month.

Warino asked if council would favor raising it by $1 per month.

Councilman Joe LoCicero said Canfield is an older city and the water lines are old.

"If you look at the infrastructure, we are an older city," he said. "We are either going to patch it and wait till later or replace it now. To wait always costs more."

After a brief discussion, council members favored a seven percent rate increase and an additional $2 per month for the capital fund. Warino said he would prepare the legislation for next meeting.

Councilman John Morvay asked if the city was bound to do business with the city of Youngstown regarding the purchasing of water.

"The city is not bound to Youngstown," attorney Mark Fortunato said. "You could approach Aqua Ohio for rates anytime."

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