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Water Works deal averts 18-percent rate hike for townships

Both sides call it a win-win
Posted at 9:24 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 21:26:51-04

SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP, Ohio — One township resident said her water bills are three times higher than when she moved into her home.

“There’s so many people on fixed incomes, I don’t know how they manage now,” she said.

So a deal that avoided an 18-percent hike in her water rates was something she could drink from the tap to.

“It’s great,” said Tom Weidman, a Sycamore Township trustee. “All our residents, I’m sure, will be thrilled about that.”

So were Mayor John Cranley and Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus after announcing a settlement Thursday in their dispute over how much township residents pay for water.

The county sued the city last year after the city threatened to raise water rates in the 12 townships it serves. But the settlement ended that, with both sides calling it a win-win after the townships agreed to a 50-year deal with the Water Works at a 50-year guaranteed rate.

“Once you have the long-term agreement, it really reduces the need for a higher rate,” Cranley said.

Cranley said the compromise gives the city leeway to make improvements to the Water Works system.

“If we made an investment, and then the township customers left our system, then we’d be stuck holding the bag. That’s really the only thing that justified a higher rate,” Cranley said.

“This 50-year period, it’s significant because it provides the stability that the city needs and that the outlying areas need,” Driehaus said.