TRUMBULL COUNTY Water rates proposal on hold while MVSD waits for response
Niles' mayor also wants to discuss the proposal with city-appointed directors.
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
MINERAL RIDGE -- A proposal to increase water rates to member cities of the Mahoning Valley Sanitary District has yet to clear one of the first hurdles.
Tom Holloway, chief engineer for the district, said he has yet to hear from the mayors of Youngstown and Niles in regard to letters he sent last month asking for a meeting to discuss needed improvements at the water treatment plant.
MVSD's board of directors earlier this summer began considering raising rates by 10 percent in each of the next three years to fund capital improvements needed at the facility, located off Salt Springs Road.
The proposed increase is expected to increase MVSD's current revenue from $7.6 million annually to $10 million. "I haven't heard anything yet, so I plan on calling [the mayors] soon to discuss it," Holloway said.
Taking first step
Those discussions are the first step MVSD must take to increase rates. No increase can take place until the matter is brought before and approved by a court of jurisdiction, composed of one judge each from the Mahoning and Trumbull County common pleas courts.
Niles Mayor Ralph A. Infante said he's willing to talk about the planned increase, but wants to get some input from MVSD directors James Sylvester and Matt Blair, both of whom are Niles' representatives on the board.
"I want to see the whole proposal before I take to our council's utilities committee," Infante said. Youngstown Mayor George McKelvey could not be reached to comment.
The MVSD treats water from the Meander Reservoir and sells it wholesale to the member cities of Niles and Youngstown, as well as to the village of McDonald. In June, MVSD directors hired Public Finance Management of Cleveland to review the renovation projects and determine the actual increase to be sought.
If rate increases are approved by the court of jurisdiction, Youngstown and Niles could absorb the costs, or pass all or a portion of them into customers.
Between the members cities, MVSD has about 300,000 business and residential customers throughout Mahoning and Trumbull counties.