Columbus City Council tonight is scheduled to approve annual increases in sewer and stormwater rates.
Sewer rates will rise by 2 percent, stormwater rates will go up by one percent, but water rates will not increase. Assistant Columbus Utilities Director Joe Lombardi says that amounts to an average overall increase on a residential bill of 1.1 percent.
Lombardi says it's the lowest increase since 2002. The annual increases help fund the city's 40-year, $2.5 billion plan to upgrade of its water and sewer systems. The plan was created to comply with federal environmental regulations and consent decrees reached with state regulators. Those decrees were sparked by environmental groups who filed lawsuits over sewage discharges into waterways and water and sewer overflows at local homes and businesses. Lombardi says as compared to other cities of its size, rates in Columbus are about in the middle of the pack.