Lordstown considering raising water rates - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Lordstown considering raising water rates

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LORDSTOWN, Ohio -

The village of Lordstown is considering raising the rate that community members pay for water.  They will be voting on the issue Tuesday, April 17th at 4 p.m. at the Lordstown administrative building.

A meeting of the board of public affairs took place Wednesday afternoon. The board discussed the possibility of raising the rate that residents pay for their water.

According to the village's water clerk, during a meeting of the board of public affairs in March, the board began to discuss the possibility of raising water rates but decided more consideration was needed. 

The board discussed a range of options from 10 cents per thousand gallons to 60 cents per thousand gallons. 

Mayor Arno Hill was at the meeting in order to address some allegations that have been circulating on social media. 

According to Hill, there have been complaints made that the proposed water rate hike is allegedly going to cover the expenses of providing water to the newly built power plant. 

Mayor Hill said that is simply not the case.

According to the mayor, the village is expecting to make approximately $100,000 annually through the power plants water payments. 

Members of the board also addressed the rumors.

"People were concerned that we were going to raise our rates because of the power plants usage," stated Board of Public Affairs President, Kevin Campbell. "But the power plant isn't even in the picture yet. They haven't even went into production. They just started using water this year."

According to the water department, the power plant negotiated a contract with the public affairs board that allows them to pay $3.45 per thousand gallons of water. The village of Lordstown gets the water from the city of Warren currently which charges a rate of $3.35 per thousand gallons. 

The power plant is expected to use approximately 2.5 million gallons of water a day, although officials say the company has said that at its peak they could use up to six million gallons a day. 

Hill also said that some are pointing to upgrades and water line work that was done in order to be able to provide water to the power plant, however, according to Hill the company has reimbursed the village for all upgrades that were related to their development. 

The superintendent of utilities, Bruce Platt, told 21 News that the issue came up because, for one of the first times, the water department's costs exceeded their revenue in 2017. 

Platt said that in accordance with EPA testing rules the village did a lot of work to identify and remove disinfectant byproducts from the water. According to Platt, that included purchasing a contract with the city of Youngstown for maintenance to the village water tanks. 

In addition, the village was faced with the purchase of two new mixers, meant to maintain the circulation of the water. 

Both the maintenance contract and the new mixers were needed, according to Platt, and will give the community a better quality of water, but they were unplanned and now need to be accounted for. 

Mayor Hill said that the water department has also been operating at it's highest capacity, stating that years ago the department only employed two people part-time- today there are four full-time employees. 

Platt also said that there are two major projects that are both in limbo and could potentially lead to more work for the water department- the second power plant project (which is currently in the midst of a legal battle over whether they will be allowed to construct at the chosen location) and a proposed distribution center for TJX HomeGoods. 

Either project would mean additional pipe and possible upgrades to the water system. 

However, Mayor Hill says that there is already an agreement in place with the second proposed power plant that they, like their neighbors across the street, would reimburse the village for the full amount of money spent on the water lines and system upgrades. 

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