The Village of Genoa has increased rates associated with three of its utilities.
Administrator Kevin Gladden said increasing costs of doing business were the reason for the hikes, adding they were needed to keep systems on track financially.
Ordinances passed last week by village council increased the sewer permit and application process from $600 to $1,200 and the rate for underground electric tap-in and storm sewer tap-in each from $200 to $400. The new rates take effect 30 days from the time of passage.
Genoa has not raised these fees in 10 to 15 years, Gladden said. “It was about time we looked at it.”
Basically, tap-in fees cover a couple of things, Gladden said. They are considered a type of equalization fee – that is residents and businesses tying into the system are paying, in part, for previous costs of running the system up until the time the hookup occurred. They also cover the costs of having inspectors check on the work contractors do to enable the tap-in to the municipal system, Gladden explained.
In the face of fiscal uncertainty, many communities have been forced to evaluate water, sewer and utility tap in fees.
Ottawa County runs a regional water system as well as two sewer systems in the eastern portion of the county.
Those assessments and rates are constantly under review, according to Gino Monaco, administrator for the Ottawa County Engineering Office. Debt service and maintaining a revenue source for future projects or problems all figure into the equation.
“Every community goes through this,” he said of rate revisions. Those who have been slow to adjust may find themselves in a worse situation later, Monaco explained.
“You don’t want to find yourself with a million dollar problem and then have to go out looking for loans to help fix it,” he noted.
In Ottawa County, a regional water hookup would cost $1,617 for the connection, $1,075 for the equalization capital charge, $100 for inspection and $25 for the permit.
Village council also passed its ordinance that directs more council involvement in interviews regarding the police department. Under the previous system, the chief and mayor interviewed prospective employees. Then, the mayor brought the candidate name before council for consideration, as allowed by the Ohio Revised Code.
However, during summer interviews of part-time officers, some council members said they felt members and the safety committee should have more input. Council wanted more say on officers’ hiring because of the safety issues involved and officers are on the streets every day representing the village.
The ordinance brought before council regarding the employee hiring process had to be modified prior to the final vote though, Gladden said.
As written, council members would have been required to sit in on interviews of all village staff.
“That means they would have to be involved down to even those lifeguards hired for summertime help who work maybe 18 hours each a week,” the administrator said.
They tweaked the wording to specifically address police officer and police department positions.