WILMINGTON — A proposed water rate increase could help Wilmington’s Water Department.
During Thursday night’s council meeting, council held the first reading of an ordinance to provide an increase in water rates to mainly combat maintenance issues,including the harmful algae bloom.
“Just to be clear, we know what the four to five-year impact on the Water Department will be. We have to spell it out. We want to be as transparent as possible,” said Wilmington City Council member Kelsey Swindler.
She added that if the issue was ignored and put off “until next year” then Water Superintendent Rick Schaeffer would be put into the position of having to come back in three or four years and ask for money. According to her, there was only one rate increase between 2004 and 2014, but one was recommended multiple times.
She added that it was a “recurring theme” that superintendents would come in, tell council issues and then they would “fall off the radar.”
“That scares me because I don’t want it to happen again,” she said. “It’s too vital. Especially with water.”
Other council members agree with this sentiment, including Jonathan McKay, who said, “We have to do what we have to do… It’s a hard pill to swallow but a necessary one.”
Mayor John Stanforth stated, “I’d rather have a root canal without novocaine than raise rates on our citizens. But we don’t have a choice.”
Swindler stated she’d like a public forum at the next meeting on Dec. 6 and invites locals to participate if they have any questions or concerns.
Also during council:
• During the Finance Committee report, council held the first reading of an ordinance on the city’s 2018 budget.
• Mayor John Stanforth gave updates on city projects during his report. On the waterline on Fife Avenue, he stated he “literally saw the last connection made” on Thursday. He stated there was work still needed to be done, though.
On paving projects, he said if you live in the 4th Ward “you’ll see what the rest of the city is going to look like in another three years.”
He also told attendees the city tore down their first house today through the land bank. The house was at Langdon Avenue. He stated houses targeted to be torn down will have a big red “X” on them.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574