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Greater Cincinnati Water Works could hike your rate by 18 percent

Posted at 11:25 PM, Aug 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-16 01:21:59-04

GREEN TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Take a sip and make it last. Depending on the outcome of a Cincinnati City Council vote, your water bill could soon become much more expensive.

Citing the operational costs of providing service outside the city proper, Greater Cincinnati Water Works asked Cincinnati City Council to approve an 18 percent rate increase for customers in unincorporated Hamilton County villages and townships.

Acting City Manager Patrick Duhaney wrote in a memo that changes like this one -- which would apply a 1.43 multiplier to those customers' bills rather than the current 1.25 -- are a necessary part of standard operating procedure.

"Expenses related to providing water service to areas outside city limits are greater due to a variety of variables, including infrastructure, energy resources and treatment chemicals," he wrote.

Some residents of the affected communities, however, said they had already dealt with recent rate hikes and weren't prepared to accept another. They have the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners on their side.

"It's something that we, the board, think is unfair and inequitable," Commissioner Todd Portune said.

He argued it isn't significantly more expensive for Water Works to get water to the affected townships; if some areas farther away wouldn't see a change, why should they?

Sycamore Township Board of Trustees president Tom Weedemen said some of the communities who would face rate increases could abandon their contracts with Greater Cincinnati Water Works and create new ones with neighboring counties.

Whatever the eventual solution might be, Green Township Chris Cartnell wants township and county leaders to keep fighting.

"Eighteen percent, we're talking a $40-50 increase on my bill," he said. "That's not anything I'm sure anyone in this area would want to see."