30-cent-a-month water rate increase seems likely in BG

Bowling Green residents will see a small monthly increase in their water bills the next three years but
customers outside the city will see much larger increases over the next five years.
The city’s Board of Public Utilities will act in the next few weeks on recommendations made Monday night
by a consulting firm. The BPU hired Courtney and Associates to do a cost of service and rate analysis.
BG’s water rates were last increased Jan. 1, 2005.
If the board follows the recommendations, BG residential customers will see a 30-cent per month or $3.60
per year increase in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
John Courtney said the study showed the water revenues are not sufficient to cover operating costs.
However, rather than recommend one large increase, he said the city could do the job over time.
Commercial accounts would a 150 percent increase in their capacity charge over the three years but would
not pay more for the water they use. Capacity charges are determined by the diameter of the water line
serving the customer. Residential customers typically have a 3/4-inch service line.
Commercial/industrial customers have service lines ranging from two to 12 inches in diameter.
Wholesale customers would see usage charges increase about 12 percent a year in each of the next five
years.
A "typical" BG residential customer using 600 cubic feet of water a month now pays $9.15. By
2012 that would increase to $10.05 a month. By comparison, the average rate at Napoleon is $29.78 a
month; at Fremont, $25.82; at Perrysburg, $20.09; and at Findlay, $17.24. Courtney said the BG rate is
subsidized by the income tax but even taking into account, many cities would "jump" at having
BG’s rate.
Bowling Green’s present commercial rate ranges to less than half that of Napoleon’s, Perrysburg’s and
Fremont’s to about 40 percent less than Findlay.
Some of the difference, Courtney said, is made up by the fact that a portion of BG’s city income tax is
dedicated to water and sewer capital improvements.
The water rates will not affect sewer rates. Sewer charges are determined by the amount of water used,
not the cost of the water.
The senior citizen discount is not affected, although that program is closed to new applicants.
Sue Clark, director of Bowling Green’s Community Development Foundation, said BG rates "are very
competitive in the area" and "Fairly competitive in Ohio."
The board also:
¥ Approved by a 3-1 vote going ahead with planning to install a master plan water line on Bowling Green
Road East to solve an issue that arose in recent months when a two-inch private line was installed
without the city’s permission. John Mekus voted against moving forward. The issue will come back before
the board before the project is bid.