Council Mulls Sewer Rate Increase

BENWOOD – Benwood City Council is scheduled to hold the second and final reading of an ordinance to increase residents’ sewage rates at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at the municipal building.

The first reading of the ordinance was held last month. It proposes increasing residents’ sewage rates by 17.1 percent. For a 2,000-gallon-a-month user that would mean a $17.08 bill would increase to $20 a month. The increase is meant to offset increases being imposed by the city of Wheeling, which treats Benwood’s sewage.

Benwood, along with other municipalities, protested the rate increase with the state Public Service Commission, but the PSC ruled in favor of Wheeling’s plan.

Benwood Councilman John Kazemka previously said the city could help reduce its sewage bill by enforcing its new downspout law, which requires people to separate their homes’ downspouts from their sanitary sewer lines. Doing so would decrease the amount of Benwood water being treated by Wheeling.

Benwood also is working to separate its combined sewer overflows, which is being mandated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Councilman Curtis Mele said Benwood is at the city of Wheeling’s mercy because, this time, it cannot absorb the cost being passed on to it.