ELYRIA — After months of discussion, City Council members voted Monday to increase sanitation rates each year for the next three years.
Members also used the same meeting to discuss adjusting the water and sewer rates for the years 2018 and 2019, giving residents an added whammy on their utility bills.
Council needs to have one more meeting and vote before finalizing the sanitation rate increases, but members of both the Utilities and Finance committees have signed off on the proposed new rates that city officials said will keep the fund solvent in the face of increased expenses.
The suggested rates are $26.50 per month for 2018, $27.42 per month for 2019 and $28.38 per month in 2020. The homestead rate would go from $17.92 per month to $18.55 per month in 2018, $19.20 per month in 2019 and $19.87 monthly in 2020.
Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said the rate increase absorbs a new fee the city is paying Republic Services for the removal of mixed recycled glass. The sanitation company is imposing a $24.75 per ton charge for glass matter it cannot recycle, which comes to an estimated yearly cost of between $70,000 and $100,000.
Siwierka said residents should still put their mixed glass into their city-issued recycling receptacles as Republic will do the sorting as it does for cardboard, plastic and newspaper.
The city’s tree lawn tree service is also a part of the sanitation services and factored into the rate increases as proposed.
While the city is looking to increase sanitation rates, City Engineer Tim Ujvari said adjustments to the water and sewer rates also are needed for 2018 and 2019 because of ongoing projects and other considerations, including increased pressures to comply with sewer mandates from the Ohio and federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Ujvari is proposing an increase of roughly 8 percent in 2018 and 2019 for the sewer rate and leaving the water rate flat for two years to offset the increase.
The adjustments would be effective with the first bill of 2018.