Sewer rates must be fair and affordable for all residents. Cincinnati needs to change the outdated rate structure and its failing sewer system. Currently residential customers are paying 75% of the cost of treating stormwater. Many large impervious surfaces areas pay nothing for the stormwater going to the MSD system. MSD put this cost at $121,000,000 last year. If stormwater charge is not properly implemented and calculated, minimum charges for single families, duplexes and smaller apartments will continue to subsidize the facilities that have large impervious surfaces and the minimum charge will remain excessively high for many residents.
We need clean water, good jobs fixing our failing sewer system and fair rates. Environmental Community Organization (ECO) urges the County Commission to adopt the following recommendations listed below.
- Implement a stormwater charge/fee on impervious surfaces. This fee must be sufficient to cover the stormwater collection, storage and treatment costs ($121,000,000 in 2015) and include the properties contributing stormwater to the MSD system but not paying for the runoff from their properties.
- Implement monthly billing without extra cost and have meters that must be read monthly.
- Create an appeals process.
- Offer an affordability program which includes a percentage discount for residents who qualify.
- Reduce or eliminate volume allowance for the minimum charge and reduce minimum charge so people are charged only for what they use.
- Eliminate the discount (lower rate) for the large volume water users.
- Create incentives for green infrastructure such as rain barrels, rain gardens, pervious pavement, and water detention on site so that only minimum amounts enter the combined sewer system.
- Reduce minimum charge for small meter sizes for residential customers through reallocation of the costs of storm-water treatment and other proven methods.
- Express usage in gallons instead of cubic feet (CF). Water meter sizes are not the most relevant way to assess sewer rates. Consider a progressive income tax for sewers.
Let the county commissioners know you want fair and affordable rates, good jobs fixing our aging infrastructure, and clean water.
Contact your Hamilton County Commissioners, they set the sewer rates !
Feel free to pass out the Fair and Affordable Sewer Rates page, add your own logo and let us know you are joining the effort!