NAPOLEON — A water and sewer rate increase for municipal customers was moved closer to reality Monday night here by city council.
Separate ordinances increasing water rates annually by 7% and sewer rates by 3% during the next four years were approved following second readings. They are set for third and final readings at council’s Feb. 1 meeting.
Those ordinances were among the seven legislative items acted upon by council during its regular session Monday. Council also took action on legislation concerning garbage and recycling containers, and a councilman announced his intention not to seek a new term.
Meanwhile, council agreed to put the city’s upcoming wastewater rehab project out for bid and discussed a compensation issue concerning an expensive sewer hookup stemming from a home construction project (see related story).
The aforementioned sewer rate hikes would be added to the commodity charge of customers’ bills, and not on the base rate. Therefore, the increase would be higher than 3% on the commodity charge, but overall the rate hike would be 3%.
The water rate hikes would be in reverse where the commodity charge is concerned.
Water rates are set to increase more than sewer charges because the city figures to lose water customers in Liberty Center and McClure. Those communities plan to receive future service from the Northwestern Water and Sewer District in Bowling Green.
This could reduce the city’s revenue stream by approximately 16%, according to City Manager Joel Mazur.
The average consumer would see a monthly increase of approximately $4 for water service, and a little less than half of that for sewer service.
An amendment to each ordinance is expected at council’s Feb. 1 meeting stipulating that the new rates would become effective for the March billing cycle rather than February’s.
Also Monday, council approved the second reading of an ordinance amending chapter 925.08 of the city’s codified ordinances concerning the placement of garbage cans or recycling containers outside residences. These must be removed by the end of the next day after scheduled pickup.
Only Councilman Dan Baer opposed the ordinance, which will return for a third and final reading at council’s Feb. 1 meeting.
The issue was prompted by residents leaving their containers outside days after the pickup date, creating concerns about tidiness.
Although a violation will have a potential penalty — a minor misdemeanor with a maximum $100 fine — Mazur told council Tuesday that the city will not take a heavy-handed approach. Rather, like other code enforcement issues, he said officials would “give people a chance to comply first.”
He said the goal is to prompt citizens to “clean up your yard and make it look nice. That’s all we’re asking.”
Later, Councilman Jeff Comadoll announced his intention not to run for a new term. His present term expires on Dec. 31.
Comadoll said he will turn 65 in June and has “too many things going on in my life.”
Council President Joe Bialorucki, who announced that he would seek re-election, said he respects Comadoll’s decision, but is disappointed because he will miss his knowledge on council.
In other business Monday, council:
• approved three separate ordinances allowing one-time payments of $2,500 each to the city manager, finance director and law director in 2021. Those positions will not receive salary increases this year. The ordinances passed following third and final readings.
• passed the second reading of an ordinance approving replacement pages in the city’s codified ordinances reflecting legislative changes enacted by council during previous months. The matter will come back for a third and final reading at council’s Feb. 1 meeting.
• approved a motion directing the law director to draw up legislation concerning pay for Napoleon Municipal Court’s bailiff. The position’s pay rate is proposed to increase from $17.50 per hour to $21.63 per hour following retirement of the present bailiff. Some council members raised questions about the large increase in pay. Mayor Jason Maassel noted that questions can be answered when the legislation appears at an upcoming council meeting.
• passed a motion approving the electric municipality’s power supply cost adjustment factor for January.
• created an ad-hoc committee to discuss compensation levels for city employees. Lori Siclair and Ross Durham were appointed as council members, and will be joined by Maassel and the city’s human resources director.
• heard a suggestion by Bialorucki for the Ohio Department of Transportation to install a sign on U.S. 24/U.S. 6 near Woodlawn Avenue noting “no through trucks” in Napoleon. In the case of tractor trailer rigs, there is no place there for them to turn around, he indicated.
• met in executive session to discuss economic development and “matters to remain confidential due to the competitive nature of a utility.”