Starting this month, Trumbull County sanitary sewer customers in what had been called the Metropolitan District, which includes Brookfield and Masury, will see the first of several rate increases.
Between Nov. 1 of this year and Jan. 1, 2026, rates in the former Metropolitan District will go from $6.66 per 1,000 gallons used to $9.75, a 46 percent hike.
Following the Nov. 1 increase, the rate will jump again Jan. 1 to $7.50 per 1,000 gallons, then go to $8.50 on Jan. 1, 2023, $9 on Jan. 1, 2024, $9.50 on Jan. 1, 2025, and $9.75 on Jan. 1, 2026.
Trumbull County Commissioners Frank Fuda and Mauro Cantalamessa approved the new rate scale Oct. 13 against the wishes of Commissioner Niki Frenchko, who said she “didn’t get enough of an explanation” from the Trumbull County Sanitary Engineer’s Office, and “wanted to see a comparison to comparable communities,” according to the meeting minutes.
MS Consultants Inc. performed the rate study that led to the action.
Trumbull County’s sanitary sewer system has treatment plants to serve some areas, but sends waste to treatment plants run by other entities in other areas.
Sanitary Engineer Gary Newbrough said the new rate structure reflects an increase in rates charged by the cities of Warren, Girard, Niles, Youngstown and Hubbard, the $35 million upgrade to the Mosquito Creek treatment plant in Howland and the $20 million upgrade to the Brookfield treatment plant in Masury.
The county has started paying back a loan taken for the Mosquito Creek plant upgrade, and begins paying off a loan for the Brookfield plant upgrade on Jan. 1, 2024, he said.
The new rate structure also will bring the rates charged to users in what had been the Mosquito Creek District in line with those charged to what had been the Metropolitan District, starting Jan. 1, 2024.
The two districts were combined two years ago.
“The reason we did that was because we lost the (General Motors) revenue, which was about $100,000 a month,” Newbrough said.
General Motors closed its Lordstown car manufacturing plant.
“That was a big hit to our districts,” Newbrough said. “The City of Warren increased their rate significantly to us to accept flow, so it was decided at the time to, instead of the Metropolitan District, which Brookfield is in, instead of them having to absorb all that extra cost, let’s combine these two districts and have all Trumbull County sewer help absorb this cost.”
At the time of the combination, the Mosquito Creek District had a $15 million surplus, which county officials used to hold off a rate increase until this month, he said. Officials want to try to maintain a $5 million balance in the sewer account, he said.