Chagrin Falls Residents:
It is with a great deal of pleasure that I can report to you that the administration has been successful in renegotiating the water supply agreement with the Cleveland Water District (CWD). We will be submitting this revised contract for council’s approval in the next few weeks. These revisions both reduce the minimum purchase volumes we must buy from Cleveland and move the measurement period to an annual basis from a monthly basis and assure our supply of water far into the future. Based upon these changes and our projected water supply needs, we have agreed, subject to council’s approval, to extend our contract for an additional 10 years to 2037.
The Village currently produces well water at approximately $2.80 per 1000 gallons compared to buying it from Cleveland at a cost of $4.78 per 1,000 gallons. Our costs are largely fixed and as we produce more well water the cost per unit goes down. Maximizing the ground water usage provides a significant savings to our customers and will moderate the need for future rate increases. I would specifically note the importance in protecting the Franklin Street aquifer now and in the future as it will save the the village $325,000 per year or $135.00 per customer annually by 2021. Our retention of the mothballed Washington Street well fields provides a potential expansion opportunity to meet future demand with lower cost well water. The change to an annual determination of purchase minimums is effective January 1 of 2017 and the reduction in the total purchase obligation is phased in over 5 years starting in 2017. Once fully effective in 2021 these changes will save the village water utility $325,000 per year. These savings will be applied in total to the Water-Reserve for Capital Improvements fund (Fund E3) and used to finance the water infrastructure needs. With these savings we can begin an orderly program to replace the remaining portions of our water distribution system that are antiquated and well beyond their service life.
The revised CWD contract, together with the 2015 enacted rate increase, will now allow us to fully fund the water utility’s capital needs without any additional anticipated rate increase for capital improvements. The funding sources and needs are now balanced within $250,000 over 10 years and this amount can easily be met via a combination of new customers, additional ongoing savings and, if necessary minor short term borrowing. Previously, this account reflected needs in excess of identified revenue sources of almost $2,000,000 and implied large future rate increases for capital improvements. This funding short fall is now provided for with the reduction in the CWD minimum purchases requirement and NOT water rate increases. This keeps money in our customer’s pockets.
While the waste water treatment plant has both anticipated EPA mandated capital needs and major equipment upgrades in 2020 (which will be financed), I can now confidentially report that based on known needs and revenue BOTH utilities, Water and Sewer are on a sustainable financial basis. Passage of the income tax increase this November will secure the overall village finances now and into the foreseeable future.
We strongly recommend that Council approve this revised contract.
Mayor William Tomko