The Butler County commissioners announced today the water and sewer rates for the county’s 90,000 combined customers will soon rise.
The plan will include incremental adjustments through the next two years, beginning in June. The first water and sewer rate increase will be 3 percent. County leaders said the water increase is 81 cents for a residential account using an average of 5,000 gallons per month. The sewer rate increase is 63 cents per month for residential customers.
On Jan. 1, 2023, water rates will increase another 2 percent and sewer rates go up another 3 percent.
“Costs for materials, supplies, and other sources of goods to operate water and sanitary sewer systems for nearly 90,000 customers have experienced substantial inflationary increases over the last decade while the County has held its rates constant, said Martha Shelby, director of water and sewer. “The slight increase will allow the County to continue to provide excellent water.”
All three commissioners said the rate hikes are necessary.
“My philosophy has always been to protect the taxpayer. Late last year the Board of Commissioners took action to relieve over $18.0 million in 2022 tax bills to County property owners. The $17 a year to the average county water and sewer user is an insignificant amount to expect the ratepayers to reinvest back into the system,” said Commissioner Don Dixon, board president. “Like any utility, costs have increased substantially yet the County has not increased its rates in over 13 years,” Dixon said.
“Even with the programmed incremental rate increases approved, our rates remain reasonable and are predicted to stay well below other water and sewer utilities in the region,” said Commissioner TC Rogers, board vice-president.
Commissioner Cindy Carpenter called the increase “minimal” and vital to sustaining the water and sewer systems.
The County said that in a regional study conducted of more than 60 utilities comparing water and sewer rates, Butler ranks No. 5 as least expensive.
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