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Lakemore reviewing village water rates

3/7/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Lakemore Village Mayor Rick Justice announced at the March 4 Village Council meeting changes to the village water rate structure are coming.

Justice stated at the meeting he has received four scenarios from RCAP (Rural Community Assistance Partnership) on restructuring village water rates.

RCAP is a national service-delivery network that assists small and economically disadvantaged communities in finding sustainable solutions to community concerns, according to its website. Village officials have been working with RCAP to find funding assistance for needed infrastructure improvements to its water system, according to Interim Fiscal Officer Tracy Fast.

Fast said after a review of village operations, RCAP officials suggested a water rate change was needed in order to leverage funding assistance for capital improvements.

Justice said 70 percent of a resident’s water bill is “based on infrastructure costs, before water treatment and before the water is delivered.” He said a review of the rates was needed to capture actual costs of the water use in the village and to raise revenue for future capital improvements.

The mayor stated that among the comments from residents received on its water system were complaints about the flat rate, in which households of one end up paying the same as families of four due to a minimum charge of 11,000 gallons. Village officials are looking to eliminate the minimum rate charge and instead have users pay for the water they use in one of the four rate change scenarios presented.

“Under a new rate, the less you use, the less you will pay,” said Councilman Troy Bradford. “This will encourage more responsible use.”

Councilman Chad Lance said that the proposed change would be a “positive and the best for everyone.”

Village officials are scheduled to review the four proposed rate change scenarios at coming workshops, scheduled for March 13 and 27 at 6 p.m. In addition, RCAP officials are expected to come before Council to talk about the proposed changes, according to Fast.

Legislation introduced that evening related to the village water system, which is seeking to revise the reconnection fee for residents and commercial users who have been cut off, was placed on time.

Also at the meeting, Justice reported Sanitarium Road “took another hit this winter.”

Justice said 6,000 vehicles use that road each day. The high school is located at the end of Sanitarium Road, and next fall, when the new school opens, it also will include traffic associated with seventh- and eight-graders.

In 2010, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) officials gave the road a 72 out of 100 ranking on its condition, and this year, it is expected to get a rating in the 60s, according to Justice.

“This road is beyond resurfacing,” said Justice. “We need to do a base layer before resurfacing, and we would like to add sidewalks.”

Justice said he has been talking to Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study (AMATS) officials about funding assisting to improve the road, but in the meantime, Sanitarium Road will need to be patched.

“It will be a process [finding funding assistance], but we will get the ball rolling,” he said. “It will not likely happen before the spring or summer of 2014. We have never received funding assistance from ODOT, so we are in a good position.”

In other business:

  • Two new pieces of legislation, including an agreement with Roetzel & Andress for assistance with a proposed assessment project and debt issuance for roadway improvements in the Hidden Lakes subdivision and an agreement with Summit County Public Health to provide regulation and/or services for storm water pollution and enforcement of regulations related to illicit discharge to the community storm water system, were placed on time.
  • Councilwoman Laura Cochran reported she was “disappointed” to learn Springfield Local School District officials have decided not to hang photos of former graduates in the new Springfield High School currently under construction but will instead use technology to display the pictures on a screen. She suggested residents contact district officials about this decision.
  • The Lakemore Easter Egg Hunt will take place March 30 at 1 p.m. at Waterworks Park and include the Easter Bunny. Donations of candy for the event are being accepted at the Municipal Building, 1400 Main St.
  • Boat docks on the village side of Springfield Lake will be available tomorrow, March 9, from 9 a.m. to noon. The seasonal cost is $250 for residents and $500 for nonresidents. A daily pass is $7 for residents, $45 for nonresidents and free to seniors from both Lakemore and Springfield.

The next regular Council meeting will take place March 18 at 7 p.m. at the Municipal Building.

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