To the Editor:
As expected, the Piqua City Commission has scheduled another round of rate increases to pay for their new water plant, and a round of even bigger ones to pay for what they euphemistically call an expanded sewer plant – which will cost about as much as the new water plant.
The rate hikes have been announced as 10 percent per year for five years for the water plant and 20 percent per year for four years for the sewer plant.
Two points need to be made. (I refer here only to domestic charges.) From 2012, the start of the water rate rounds, through 2020, water rates will have actually increased by some 251 percent, based on cumulative percentage rises. For purposes of calculations, I use 3,000 gallons of water and sewer, a figure based on two people in a household.
The wastewater rates have been characterized as over four years. Actually, they are over three years and three months. The first 20 percent will come in October and the next one three months later in January of 2018. That is a cumulative rate hike of 44 percent in three months’ span. By the end of the hikes, total cost will be up, again for domestic rates, by around 207 percent from current rates.
It is well to note that a water study in 2011 stated Piqua’s rates with a new water plant will have to increase by 800 percent by 2035. We seem to be well on the way.
With the combined boosts in water and sewer, I do not know how in the world Piqua will EVER attract new business and industry that would use sizable quantities of water. It will be a case of some possibly small job increases by businesses already here, and likely a continued shrinking of population to pay these rates.
And the beat goes on.
— Larry Huffman
EDITOR’S NOTE: The proposed increases for water rates will be 10 percent each year for four years, not five, starting with 2017, according to the city of Piqua.