Source: Sherman Publications

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Construction water rate to jump $52 next month

by CJ Carnacchio

July 17, 2013

The cost of using water during a construction project is going up in Oxford Township.

Last week, township officials voted 7-0 to increase the water usage rate for construction from $47.61 to $100 effective Aug. 1.

Supervisor Bill Dunn explained this is the charge the township assesses builders for the water they receive from the municipal system during a project.

It's a onetime, flat fee, so no matter how many gallons are used or how long the construction project takes, it will cost the builder $100 to access township water.

The construction fee goes right into the township's water fund, where it helps cover operational and maintenance expenses as well as pay debt service.

In 2005, the township incurred a bond debt to finance water system improvements such as the construction of two treatment plants and a 1 million-gallon elevated storage tank on N. Oxford Rd.

The outstanding principal amounts to $9 million. Factor in interest and the township's water users owe approximately $13 million. The debt is scheduled to be paid off in October 2030.

Treasurer Joe Ferrari noted the construction rate has been $47.61 since 2006 and that's not fair to water system users who've seen their debt service charge increase since then.

"(Builders) should share in that as well," he told this reporter.

Right now, water system customers pay $45 per Residential Equivalent Unit (REU) every three months to help retire the debt.

It's been that amount since 2010, when it was increased from the original quarterly rate of $32 per REU.

An REU is a unit of measurement that's equal to the average water/sewer usage of one single family home. A single family home is assigned one REU, while a business, like a restaurant or car wash, may be assigned multiple REUs.

Township officials decided the debt service charge will remain the same as it's currently covering most of the bond payments.