TORONTO City Council on Monday moved one step close to raising city sewage and water rates.
The rates for the first 3,000 gallons will increase from $20 to $24 per month, while the sewage rates will increase to $18 monthly, according to Mayor John Geddis.
"If we don't meet the state minimum (for average water rates), we won't be eligible to apply for (state grant funds)," said the mayor, adding the city's sewage plant and infrastructure need improvements.
Geddis previously said the city intends on pursuing as many grants as possible for the upgrades. Sewage and water costs will be an additional $6 per gallon for each additional 1,000 gallons of water used per city water customer per month, said the mayor. He added that cost would apply for both the water and sewage rates.
"The only place (in the county) that has cheaper water rates than Toronto is Stratton," said Geddis, adding even with the increases, water rates still will be less expensive for city customers than Steubenville, Wintersville and county water customers.
The mayor also said the rate hikes were recommended by City Service Director John Hannan.
"Council will probably hold the third (and final ordinance) reading (on the increases) during its next meeting," said Geddis.
In other matters, City Council approved $500 bonuses for full-time city employees and $200 bonuses for part-time employees, according to Geddis.
"(City employees) haven't had a raise in three years, so we went ahead and approved the bonuses) for employees this year," Geddis said.
The mayor said bonuses for employees were the same as last year, and the finance committee had studied the matter.
The mayor also said street paving was "supposed to be done by Nov. 15," but inclement weather so far this fall will prevent Lash Paving Co. from finishing the work. "(The company) asked if they could wait until next spring (to finish). The company will hold its price until next year," Geddis noted.
He added it makes sense to wait until weather conditions improve to finish the project.
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