Newsletter – January 2019

District Board Takes Steps to Reduce Rate Increase

The Northwestern Water & Sewer District (The District) is focused on providing high-quality water and dependable sewer services at the lowest possible cost. The District does not receive revenue from property taxes or other financial support from Wood or surrounding counties. The District is an organization that provides a public service for a fee that makes us self-supporting. Our fees fund the total cost of operations, maintenance, and capital improvement projects.

The District reviews its rates annually to make sure they cover the costs of providing our services. Regular rate adjustments are necessary to keep up with the increasing costs of operations, including increases in inflation, fuel, parts, materials, and labor. Rates must also maintain debt service coverage, maintain bond covenants, and provide funds for emergency repairs.

The District Board of Trustees approves a budget each year and the rates to fund it. Thanks to cost savings through managing our assets and services, The District will have its lowest rate increase in over 10 years. In 2019, District water rates will increase by 2.2%, while wastewater rates will only increase by 1.76%. Keep in mind that the increasing rates from our water treatment providers and our sewer treatment providers are not included in this information. Below is a breakdown of charges based on average use of 7,500 gallons or (1,000 cubic feet) per month.

District only Charges 2018 2019 Difference
District Water/Month $36.83 $37.64 $ .81/Month
District Sewer/Month $48.42 $49.27 $ .85/Month
Total/Month $85.42 $86.91 $1.66/Month

Managing Costs to Lower Rate Increases

Operations Savings

In 2018, The District operations team reviewed how they managed the disposal of sewer sludge from our 12 wastewater facilities. It was determined the use of environmentally friendly " bio bags" at our facilities could save us time and over $200,000 yearly in hauling and disposal costs.

Debt Management

In 2018, The District secured a $2.8 million grant along with a $5.1 million dollar loan with an interest rate of 2.625% from the United States Department of Agriculture to fund a new water reclamation facility in McComb.
Debt Management

The District continuously looks for ways to reduce costs. A few of the cost containment initiatives achieved include reviewing utility and telecommunications contracts and charges resulting in savings, participation in purchasing programs to increase buying leverage, re-evaluating our copier and printer program resulting in annual savings, and trading Amplex service data connections for cell tower space.

Capital Program

New Elevated Tank
The District will design and seek bids to construct a new elevated water storage tank in the area served with water from Toledo, including Walbridge, Rossford, parts of Northwood, and northern Townships in Wood County. The new tank will be paid for with revenue generated by significant economic development within the County. It will provide fire protection, better flow distribution, pressure, and water quality throughout the system.

Tracy Road Trunk Sewer and Waterline Improvements

A new industrial development, First Solar, is under construction at Tracy Road and SR 795. Waterlines and sanitary sewers will be extended on Tracy Road to provide service to the facility.

The District stepped in to increase the sewer and water lines to the size needed to serve a greater area as shown in The District Master Plan at a minimal cost to our customers. This advance planning will help to offset future costs of water and sewer extensions to serve an expanded area of the county.

Rate Study

In 2019, The District will conduct a study of our rate structure. The District will be examining a uniform rate, as well as consider inflation and other possible increases facing water and sewer utilities. The study should be complete by the fall of 2019. This should provide guidance for our rates for 2020 and beyond. Expect to hear more about the study in the coming year.