SEBRING, Ohio (WYTV) – Four years ago, Sebring’s water manager covered up lead found in some homes’ water supply. The water is now clean, but an increase in the water rates have raised some old concerns.
Customers of Sebring water may have noticed an increase to their water bill last quarter.
According to city leaders, this was to help offset the costs of recent system improvements.
“The $46 was so we don’t go deeper into the hole, and that’s all that it was planned on,” said Acting Village Manager Jack Haney.
Over the past few years, Sebring has improved the coating of their pipes, replaced the valve system and improved carbon filtration.
The state EPA requires that cities like Sebring pay for those improvements themselves through loans.
“There are bills that we have to pay. Those were loans. They were not grants, so that’s what we have to pay,” said Haney.
The city had been previously using general funds to pay off the loans, but the cost was too much to bear.
So, the choice was made to raise rates and remove the pressure on the city’s resources.
“Streets don’t get done–parks–anything else that you might want to have done in your community are not being done because you’re subsidizing the water,” Haney said.
According to Haney, the city wanted to make sure that only those on Sebring water paid for the improvements.
“Rather than taking property taxes and income taxes, it’s designed so that those who receive the service pay for the service,” he said.
The city is finalizing financing on a project for a new water tank system at Monday’s council meeting.
The finalized rate increase going forward will be determined in early March.