Council discusses utility fee increases

COVINGTON —The Covington Council held the first reading of an ordinance to increase water and sewer rates in the village of Covington during its meeting on Monday evening.

“As proposed, this ordinance will include an increase of $7.14 per month per equivalent user with a 3 percent annual increase for years 2020 through 2024,” Village Administrator Mike Busse said.

Beginning May 1, the monthly water usage fee will be $3.75 per 1,000 gallons for the first 6,000 gallons of water and then $3.41 for 6,000 gallons and above, according to the ordinance. The village is also eliminating a meter maintenance fund fee for customers and implementing an $8 monthly water tower maintenance fee per customer unit.

The village is also increasing their water tap-in fees from $500 to $1,000. A late fee of $10 will also be charged on unpaid monthly balances on the 21st day of each month.

In May, the sewer monthly usage fee based on water meter reading will be $3.54 per 1,000 gallons of water used. The fees will then increase by 3 percent each year through 2024.

Council member Bud Weer later brought up the manual meter reading charge of $5 per month for residents who have not allowed the village to install new automated meters inside their residences. Weer suggested giving them a certain amount of time in which to comply or to shut off their water.

“These are our meters,” Weer said, later adding, “It’s not fair to the village of Covington.”

Busse said that there were between 40-50 people who have not complied with the village and allowed the village to install automated meters inside their residences.

The remainder of the council agreed to give those residents 60 days once they have received notice to work with the village to get those meters changed or the village will shut off their water.

“We want the water meters changed,” council member Scott Tobias said.

Also during their meeting, the council approved an amended budget for 2019. Busse said that the previously approved budget failed to pick up the debt service items in the village’s street fund. The village total expense budget for 2019 is approximately $5,028,639.

The council also approved entering into an agreement with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield for employee health insurance. The council approved an option that will give the village an average increase of 13.73 percent. The village’s current plan runs through April 30.

The council later approved contracting with Mote and Associates for construction engineering services for the blower replacement project at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

“The agreement is in the budget as $3,675, but will be billed to the village on an hourly, as needed basis,” Mayor Ed McCord said.

The council waived the three-reading rule on any legislation that required it.

McCord, during his report, reminded the council of two upcoming events in Covington. There will be a health fair from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 6, at the Covington Eagles Hall. There will also be a community Easter Egg Hunt at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, at the Covington Community Park.

By Sam Wildow

Miami Valley Today

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