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Lakemore Council considering hikes to trash, sewer rates

11/22/2012 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

LAKEMORE — At the Nov. 19 meeting, Lakemore Council introduced measures to increase the cost of sewage and trash services in the village due to an increase in sewage and trash expenses the village is being charged.

Council heard the first readings to amend existing ordinances to adjust the sewer and trash rates for village residents and commercial users.

Mayor Rick Justice explained the village runs through the city of Akron’s master meter. He said Akron increased the amount it charges Lakemore in 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012 and will again in 2013.

“We did not match the increases in the past,” he said.

However, if the village does not increase the amount it charges residents and businesses, it will face more than an $80,000 deficit in the sewer fund next year, Justice said.

Akron will be charging Lakemore $524,000 for sewer service in 2013, and village officials anticipate Lakemore’s sewer revenue only will be $442,000 next year, he said.

If the adjustment is approved, there would be a minimum sewer charge of $90 per quarter for each residential unit and commercial unit in the village corporation limits — a $20 per quarter increase — Justice said. The minimal charge covers up to 13,000 gallons of sewage. For sewage discharge in excess of 13,000 gallons per quarter, the charge would be an additional $3.31 for each 1,000 gallons discharged, he said.

Justice explained a public hearing will be held concerning the sewage rate increase before Council votes on the matter.

Justice explained, if approved by Council, residents also could be charged more for trash pickup soon. He said residents most likely would pay a minimum trash charge of $46 per quarter next year, a $1 increase than being paid currently. The minimum charge would continue to cover weekly trash and recycling pickup.

He explained an existing contract with Republic Waste is increasing. Justice said 75 cents of the $1 increase would be used to cover Republic Waste’s increase and 25 cents would be used to cover an increase in administrative costs. The mayor said the village is looking at getting a new billing system to handle the trash billing, as the old system is outdated.

He said a rate study is being conducted to determine what other increases may need to be made to cover the costs associated with the upkeep of the village’s aging systems.

“Our water and sewer systems are very old,” Justice said. “We need to keep ahead of repairs.”

Also during the meeting, Council amended a resolution to enter into a contract with DPL Energy Resources Inc. for electric generation supply for village electric utility accounts. The one-year contract with AEP Energy will allow the village to obtain electric generation supply services for all electric accounts for the village, said Councilman Tom Wolfe. The generation rate during the initial term will be .05 cent per kilowatt-hour. The contract is just for village-owned buildings, officials said.

Council additionally approved a contract with the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) to pursue a litigation program for the village. According to village officials, RITA will pursue those taxpayers who have filed returns but failed to make payments or payment arrangements for their local income taxes.

Council also adopted a resolution to enter into a contract with RITA to enact a subpoena program. The program will allow RITA to contact local taxpayers for compliance and collections, Wolfe said.

In other business, Council President Tammie Coontz announced a special meeting will be held Nov. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 1400 Main St., to induct a new member of Council.

She said there were 11 applicants for the open position, and Council “worked hard” interviewing the interested individuals.

Council unanimously agreed last month to expel Councilwoman Lori Strittmatter due to repeated absences from regular meetings and vowed to find a dedicated replacement.

At the close of the Nov. 19 meeting, an executive session was held to discuss personnel issues, with no action taken.

In other village business:

• The annual tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. at the Municipal Building and will include photos with Santa, special music and a bonfire.

• The Springfield Township Police Department’s Fill-A-Cruiser event will take place Nov. 23-24 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Arlington Road Wal-Mart and Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Canton Road/state Route 224 Speedway gas station. The event collects new toys, nonperishable food items and cash donations for families in need in the Lakemore and Springfield areas.

Council will hold its next regular meeting Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.

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