Mayor Bell eyes water rate increases to fund $55M plant repairs

Mayor Bell told the city utilities committee he supported raising the water rate to fix the plant.

Since an Ohio EPA report revealed the poor condition of Toledo's water treatment plant in November, the city council and utilities department has remained mum about funding solutions. But at last night's Utilities & Public Service Committee meeting, Mayor Mike Bell made it clear that he wants the problem fixed, no matter the cost.

According to The Blade, Mayor Bell said he would support "whatever rate hike would be needed" to fix the plant.

Currently, the city has plans to raise water rates 9 percent next year, which aligns with rate increases for the past three years, according to The Blade. But the EPA's report calls for $55 million to expand the plant and upgrade equipment, a feat that could require hiking the rate up more than anticipated.

In the city's 2012 water rate study released at the beginning of the year, a rate increase of $17.35 per EDU per month was proposed, raising the average household cost from $32.39 to $49.74 a month. The report concluded that the current rate was "not adequate" to support a healthy and stable water system.

A final decision on any increases was not made at Monday's meeting.

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