MVSD will seek water rate increase

NILES — The Mahoning Valley Sanitary District, which sells wholesale water to its member cities, will seek a rate increase in April.

Tom Holloway, MVSD chief engineer, told Niles Council’s finance committee today that the increase is needed to pay for about $20 million in capital improvements over the next three years.

The district sells treated water to Youngstown, Niles and McDonald. The communities in turn sell it to their customers. About 300,000 people use MVSD water.

For the district to increase rates to member cities, approval must be given by a court of jurisdiction, which consists of one common pleas court judge each from Mahoning and Trumbull counties.

Holloway wouldn’t discuss the percentage of increase the district will seek, but said it amounts to 20 cents per 1,000 gallons charged to the member cities over a three-year period.

The district now charges 97 cents per 1,000 gallons. It would mean an additional $1 a month added to a residential customer’s bill if the communities pass the increase on to their customers.

This rate increase would not include additional funds the district will need for increased operational costs such as the price of chemicals, utilities, personnel and maintenance.

Member cities can absorb any rate increase cost or pass a portion or all of the increase on to their customers.

Holloway explained that over the past three years, the district has made “critical improvements” such as upgrading the filtration system, constructing a standpipe in Niles and making roof repairs to some district buildings.

He said the “near critical” improvements for the next three years include installing a recarbonization system to reduce mineral buildup in the system.

In addition, the district wants to add two more clarifiers, clean some of its five sludge lagoons, and replace valves and meters that were originally installed in the 1930s.

Holloway said he has yet to discuss the three-year plan with Youngstown and McDonald officials.

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