focused on water rates during committee meetings Monday evening.
Valerie Wax Carr, service director, spoke on a 15 percent water rate hike, which is still less than most surrounding cities. Kent is the only city lower in rates.
“I’m advocating raising rates to maintain our operation and to do capital projects,” Carr said. “That is what I’m most concerned about.”
These projects include work on water main breaks and any potential breaks. Almost 70 percent of water lines in the city are more than 50 years old, Carr said. Most engineers give a line the life of about 50 years, and rarely do they survive up to 100 years, but it is possible. About two weeks ago, Chestnut Boulevard and Bailey Road saw breaks, in addition to a few other streets within a few days.
“There’s an inconvenience factor you can’t put a price tag on,” said John Christopher, water department manager, about the cost of a waterline break.
The service department looks to work ahead of the breaks and make repairs to old lines in the next year.
Rates can continue to rise in the next few years. The rates are comparably lower than most, but the city needs to keep up with its own costs, said Carr.
Akron sewer rates are rising 5 percent, and that translates to a 2.33 percent increase by the city.
"There are no plans to ask for rate increases through the year 2014," said Finance Director Joseph Brodzinski.
Council members voiced concern over the rates, and it is clear more discussion will take place before any further decision is made on higher water pricing.
Other committee meeting news
Council will vote on repairing the Bailey Road Bridge over State Route 8 next Monday.Parts of the bridge had appeared to be victim to a hit-and-run. A steel beam and broken concrete will be fixed in 2012.
Next week, council will also vote on the Furnace Run Watershed Plan, which involves stream restoration and erosion control, said city engineer Tony Demasi.
A resolution to accept the Tax Incentive Review Council about Enterprise Zone and Community Reinvestment Area was passed for next week’s approval. Enterprise Zone involves tax incentives for businesses in certain zones. Community Reinvestment Area centers on property tax abatements based on home improvement and new structures for residents in a specific district.