Dear Chagrin Falls Water and/or Sewer Customer:
No one likes to see their utility bill go up, however, the Chagrin Falls water and sewer utilities must raise rates to cover the costs of operations and capital improvements. It has been five years since the last rate increase and the combined effect of inflation, reduced consumption and loss of estate tax have brought us to the point where we can no longer defer a rate increase. The recommended rate increase is 15% for 2016 on both the water and sewer portion of the bill, therefore, the total utility bill will increase 15% and not the 30% reported in the Sun Newspaper. This increase amounts to a little more than 2.8% per year over the past five years with compounding. To pay for capital improvements and keep up with inflation the recommendation includes a 5% per year increase for years 2017, 2018 and 2019.
The rate charged by the Village Utilities must cover the total cost of operating the water and sewer plants including labor, supplies, utilities, chemicals and regulatory mandates. The Chagrin Falls Utilities Department has worked hard to keep operating costs down. These efforts have included a reduction in staff, capital investment in water and sewer lines, installation of high efficiency motors and improvements to solids handling at the treatment plant. Despite these efforts the Utilities Department revenue does not cover the operational costs and cash balances have been drawn down to a low level as we deferred a rate increase as long as possible. Additionally the rate must cover capital improvement costs that were previously paid for with estate tax proceeds (the state has eliminated estate tax). The rate increase will allow the system to cover its costs and put aside $50,000 per year for future capital improvements to repair and replace equipment and infrastructure as it wears out.
The Village of Chagrin Falls strives to deliver a high quality product and reliable service. If you ever experience a problem with your water or sewer service like a sewer back up or low water pressure, please avail yourself of the Village services before calling a plumber. Your issue may be the result of a problem in the public sewer or water line where our crews can correct it without cost to the customer. You can reach the Chagrin Falls Utilities Department directly by phone at (440) 247-5051 or after hours call the Police non emergency number at (440) 247- 7321 and a service representative will be dispatched.
If you have any questions or comments regarding the water and sewer rates, please feel free to call my office at 440- 247-5050. The rate increase ordinances are on readings in front of Council. The public is welcome to comment at the next regular meeting on November 23rd at 8:00pm. Please call Village Hall by noon on Friday, November 20th if you wish to be listed on the agenda to speak to this issue. Otherwise you are welcome to speak in the open comment portion of the meeting.
Benjamin T. Himes
Chief Administrative Officer