Rate increases move forward in Toronto | News, Sports, Jobs – The Steubenville Herald-Star

Toronto Council 1

Warren Scott RATE INCREASES APPROVED — On Monday, Toronto Council approved the second readings for increases to the city’s water, sewer and garbage rates.

TORONTO — Further steps were taken Monday to raise the city’s water, sewer and garbage rates by Toronto Council, which also updated city code outlining roles and duties for city personnel.

Council approved the second reading of an ordinance raising the city’s minimum water rate from $25 to $30.50 and its minimum sewer rate from $25 to $35, both effective Dec. 1.

The two rates are based on the use of 2,000 gallons of water per month or less. Water customers who use more will pay $9.50 for each 1,000 gallons after that. That rate is up from $8.50.

Plans call for the minimum sewer rate to be raised again, to $35, and the minimum water rate to be raised to $31, both in 2023.

At that time, the rate per 1,000 gallons for those using above 2,000 gallons will be increased to $10.

The monthly bill for the city’s garbage customers is slated to rise from $13.75 to $15 in December and to $15.50 in 2023.

The rate hikes are pending approval of a third and final rate increase by council at its Oct. 25 meeting.

City officials have said revenue for the three departments hasn’t kept up with rising costs to run them, with the water department currently at a $125,000 deficit.

Heads of those departments have cited upcoming projects and needs, including the federally mandated replacement of old lead water lines and separation of combined sewer and stormwater lines leading to the Ohio River.

They also are anticipating replacement of the city’s garbage truck, a 2003 model. At an estimated cost of $156,000.

While moving forward with the rate increases, city officials also are eyeing $351,342 in federal pandemic relief funds coming to the city and seeking grants and loans to offset the projects’ costs.

In other business, council approved an ordinance updating its table of organization following the efforts of its newly formed personnel committee, City Attorney Craig Allen and others to update code detailing the responsibilities and duties of various city positions.

The changes included tasks done in recent years by a police dispatcher who also performs some secretarial functions and dropping the residency requirement for the city’s summer help.

Council President Frank McEwen said the latter was prompted by the difficulty in securing sufficient certified lifeguards from within the city only.

Council also met in executive session to discuss pending litigation involving city property but took no action afterward.

Councilman at large Steve Rebich said the recreation board comprised of city officials and school board representatives will meet at 6 p.m. today at the Karaffa Recreation Center to discuss the future of the Roosevelt Center.

The former school gym served as the city’s recreation center until the former Karafffa Elementary School was transferred to the city by the school board in 2019.

Councilman at large G. R. Dickinson announced council’s finance committee will meet at 6 p.m. Oct. 25, an hour before council’s next meeting.

Members also agreed to formally express sympathy to the family of the late Larry Coppa Jr., a former 4th Ward councilman and city services director, who died on Aug. 31 at the age of 76.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)

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