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Florence Looks at Increase for Water Rates

Florence city council is considering an ordinance that would raise fees for the city's waterworks system, the sanitary sewer system, and the stormwater sewer system.

The process began last year after continuous rate hikes from the Greater Cincinnati Waterworks that the City of Florence had previously absorbed without passing on the costs to residents.

That is expected to change.

Finance director Linda Chapman said the Boone-Florence Water Commission approved rate hikes passed down from Greater Cincinnati Waterworks, which had been coming every year. The city had a five-year plan for increases until 2014, but the rate hikes continued and the city ate the additional cost.

Those rate increases total 19.5 percent, including the 3.5 percent increase this month.

Mayor Diane Whalen and members of council determined that the city could not continue to eat the costs. A new five-year plan is expected to start April 1, 2020.

For class A properties and single-family residential properties, the service charge will be raised $1, from $2.50 to $3.50.

Users of the Florence Municipal Waterworks system will be charged for their water, plus a $2 monthly fee for billings or $4 for quarterly billings, increases of $1.50 and $3, respectively.

The rate for water, charged by 100 cubic feet, will increase more than a dollar to $4.87.

Each year after the 2020-21 fiscal year, there will be more increases, until the rate is $5.26 in 2024-25.

For the Sanitary sewer system, the customer charge will increase from $1.50 to $2 for quarterly billing.

The rate for residential customers will go up a dollar, from $5.46 to $6.46, as will multi-family, and non-residential units with a 5/8-inch pipe.

The charge for operation, maintenance, and replacement will go up from $0.57 to $0.74 in the 2020-2021 fiscal year, to $0.82 in the 2024-2025 year.

Other miscellaneous charges, penalties, fines, and permit fees are included, such as auto-read meter, auto reader, tap in charges, and one time sewer impact fee for those with a cistern.

Chapman said the rate increases are approximately 2 percent for water, and 3 percent for sewer, and the service charges will now be competitive with other cities. She explained that most other Northern Kentucky cities buy their water from the Northern Kentucky Water District, and they, too, are currently negotiating rate hikes.

Other notes:

Lynn Demi, from the Daughters of the American Revolution, presented a flag to the city to be flown above the new Florence Plaza Park on Mall Road.

Mayor Diane Whalen mentioned that William "Bill" Bailey died at the age of 92.  He was a businessman in Florence for many years, owning Bailey's Uniform Shop on Dixie Highway.

Written by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor