The article “Plain City looks to hike water, sewer rates”, November 30th, 2013, states that Plain City is seeking to hike water and sewer rates because the “village residents’ water and sewer bills aren’t covering the village’s expenses”and that the “deficit has to be subsidized by Plain City’s general fund revenue.” This is not the whole story.
The village’s sewer operating budget includes debt services to the Ohio Water Development Authority (OWDA) for $300,000 annually. This loan (OWDA #4346) was taken in 2005 in the amount of $4,555,748.71 for “WWTP Upgrade, Expansion & WRRSP”. The Ohio EPA publication “Village of Plain City – WWTP Upgrade and Expansion, Union/Madison County, WPCLF No.:CS392658-01” presented three alternatives for upgrading the waste water treatment plant (WWTP). Two alternatives included expansion; a third, no expansion. Plain City chose one of the expensive, multi-million dollar, “expansion” options.
In other words, Plain City was betting that the village would grow, generating enough revenue to cover the loan. Obviously, this did not occur. The conclusions are obvious. Had Plain City not taken out such an exorbitant loan, there would be no reason for the village to hike water and sewer rates. Furthermore, there would likely be plenty of money (an additional $300,000) in the budget that could be spent on, for example, additional police officers; which would have eliminated the “need” for Plain City’s attempted .5% income tax hike. The inescapable conclusion here is that the administrators of Plain City bet $4.5 million on the roulette wheel of growth, lost, and are now attempting; by hook or by crook, to force the hard working people of Plain City to cover their gambling debt. Something smells in Plain City, and it is not just the sewer.
Gregory J. Deckler