Reno water customers see increase in rates

Customers of Reno Water may be a little taken back when they get their next water bill in the mail, as rates will have increased by 20 percent.

Reno Water Superintendent Ron Tidd said the increase came after a rate raise from the city of Marietta. The decision was made Wednesday at the Reno Water board meeting.

“We purchase our water from the city of Marietta,” he said. “They increased our rates by 20 percent. In order for us to stay in business basically, we had to forward that cost on to our customers.”

Customers will see the increase reflected on their next bill, which for some will be in the beginning of February and others in the beginning of March, based on the bi-monthly billing of Reno Water.

Reno Water provides water for roughly 1,600 people and covers about 63 miles of land. This covers residents in Fearing and Marietta townships, on Grub, Caywood, Lynch Church, Goose Run and Jennings Hill roads, County House Lane, County Road 9, Forshey and Browns roads and up to Browns Lane, by Willow Island.

Reno Water minimum bills will increase from $48.40 to about $60.

Some customers said they were disappointed to hear about the steep price hike.

“I’m living on Social Security and it’s hard to stretch it and that’s a big raise,” said Amanda Koon, of Marietta, a Reno Water customer. “I don’t like it, but everything else is going up. I guess I’ll pay it, but I won’t like it. But that’s life.”

Marietta Safety-Service Director Jonathan Hupp said the 20 percent increase passed to Reno Water from the city is due to projects and maintenance.

“Built into the cost is existing debt for projects going back multiple years,” Hupp said. “It’s debt going back in time.”

Hupp added that the increase is also helping to cover upcoming projects such as putting two new water lines in on Colegate Drive and Greene Street later this year, lime and slag storage (which makes water potable), fees incurred for a water return tank, painting tanks and day-to-day expenditures such as salaries, benefits and wear and tear on vehicles.

Another expenditure will be replacing water use meters, he said.

“The city has to analyze its project load and see what can be absorbed by the city,” Hupp said. “The rest is shared by the consumer.”

Hupp said more money is needed to help repair and replace old infrastructure.

“We’re the oldest city in the state,” Hupp said. “We have 100-year-old water lines. The infrastructure is beginning to break down…When the infrastructure starts collapsing, it has to be replaced and that cost has to be shared by all.”

The raises seen in the city will be about 20 percent per customer as well. Hupp said that would translate to about a $25 increase per 500 cubic feet of water used.

“If you paid $128 a year in 2013, the annual water bill will be $153 for this year,” Hupp said.

Meanwhile, notices have been posted around the Reno Water office and notices have been put on outgoing bills that rates will be going up.

Tidd said that while some people may be angry, he thinks most will understand that it wasn’t the desire of Reno Water to increase costs to customers.

“We’re going to have a few irate customers, I’m sure,” he said. “But most people will understand it’s the city of Marietta.”

Marietta resident Viola Tucker, 70, is a customer of Reno Water and says she isn’t surprised by the increase, especially after seeing that the city was raising rates.

“I’m really not surprised,” Tucker said. “Everything else is going up. It’s just part of life; you have to take it and go with it.”