GM Lordstown idling forces higher county sewer rates
Halting the production lines at GM Lordstown is having a direct impact on sewer rates for thousands of customers in Trumbull County.
On Wednesday, Trumbull County Commissioners voted to merge the county's two sewer districts.
The Metropolitan Sewer District and the Mosquito Creek Sewer District will now be known at the Trumbull County Combined Sewer District.
Those districts cover several townships and smaller communities outside of the county's major cities.
GM Lordstown was a customer in the Metropolitan district, equivalent to 2,500 customers. The plant accounted for 20-percent of the 13,000 customers in that sewer district.
Without the money from the plant coming in, customers will have to make up for the fixed costs those rates supported.
"The disparity was growing with no end in sight, and we needed to act on something that was fair and equitable to the most amount of people in Trumbull County," Mauro Cantalamessa said, Trumbull County Commissioner.
Cantalamessa says the Mosquito Creek district was operating healthy, with an average surplus of $1.5 million each year. It has about $10 million built up right now, which will help with the process of gradually increasing rates across the county.
"Doing the math, you can see that losing the GM facility decreased the revenues for the district," Gary Newbrough said, deputy sanitary engineer.
Newbrough says it's too soon to know how much customer bills could increase. The next step is for the sanitary engineer's office to conduct a rate study.
The overall plan is to have all customers across the two-county sewer districts pay the same rate by 2026.