The increases are a result of negotiations between the township and village -- four years in the making -- on how to fairly divide the cost of a
About 3,100 of 9,000 township sewer customers will pay for about one-third of the expansion because the township creates about one-third of the sewage that flows into the plant.
Swansea paid for the expansion with a low-interest loan from the
Mueller said he didn't see a need to continue the back and forth between the two entities: "It's not a ping pong match."
Barnes said the agreement is a combined effort by both boards.
"We've accomplished what we set out to do when we were elected," Barnes said.
Both the St. Clair Township and
The 25-year contract and rate increase is effective March, 1, 2015.
Here are the highlights:
--Billing -- The
--Cost -- The affected St. Clair Township residents will be paying a
There will also be a
In the months leading to the rate increase, township residents will continue to pay a
Swansea residents saw a 47 percent increase to their rates in 2008 for the expansion because the IEPA required Swansea residents' rates to cover the cost of the loan.
--Looking ahead -- Mayor Mueller said he does not foresee rate increases for Swansea or St. Clair residents for hopefully the life of the contract, barring any big fixes needed at the new sewer plant.
The upcoming rate increases to township residents and the past increases in Swanesa should cover the cost of the sewer plant expansion, Mueller said.
Any future increases to Swansea residents' rates, however, will cause township residents' rates to go up by 1.3 times that amount, according to the contract.
Supervisor Barnes said the township will evaluate the "township transport fee" every year and modify the fee based on what is in reserves and what repairs are needed.
The township budgeted
Barnes said the township also will give Swansea an annual report explaining what work the township has done on its sewer lines.
And, since the township has been charging its residents more since summer 2010 and holding the money until officials reached an agreement with Swansea, Barnes said the township will soon decide how to disburse the money for sewer plant or maintenance needs.
Swansea Village Administrator
"It's based on data," Powers said. "Not political back and forth."
Powers said she will be working to ensure the transition to include billing St. Clair customers as seamless as possible.
Negotiations stalled under previous Swansea Mayor
At one point, Swansea hired TischlerBise to do a study on usage and rates after St. Clair Township officials objected in 2010 to pay for one-third of the expansion.
And, Swansea officials filed a notice to cut service to St. Clair Township in 2015 if a new contract was not negotiated by then. Notices of termination have to be filed five years in advance.
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