COLUMBIANA Officials discuss sewer system

One councilman said city residential and commercial sewer rates will likely double.
COLUMBIANA -- Officials are still wrestling with increasing the capacity of the city's sewer system and paying for the increase.
At Tuesday's council meeting, city Manager Keith Chamberlin and council discussed the need for major improvements to the sewer system.
Councilman Matt Weikart said the city will replace about 75 percent of the system, increasing capacity from 1.3 million gallons to 2.3 million gallons a day.
Weikart said council plans to finance the $10 million project, paying back the loan over 20 years. To cover that cost, city officials are seeking grants, but commercial and residential sewer rates will likely double, Weikart said.
During his unsuccessful campaign for re-election, Weikart said developers should be assessed a fee that would go into the sewer fund. He didn't say what kind of fee or what it would be based on. He said only that he thinks residents and established business owners shouldn't bear the burden alone.
Weikart said council will likely introduce the sewer fee increases slowly, beginning in January.
Urgency: He said the improvements must begin soon, because Ohio Environmental Protection Agency officials have said the city must show progress toward increasing the treatment plant capacity before extending sewer service to developing areas along state Routes 14 and 7.
The sewer extension is needed for a golf course and an upscale housing development planned for the former Firestone Farms property and residential and commercial developments in the area.
At least a dozen residents along those state routes have aging, ineffective septic systems and hope to tap into the city's sewer system.

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