UPDATE 2/26/2014 9:30 AM
Parkersburg City Council passed a sewer rate increase Tuesday night.
After a chance for public discussion and hearing from the general manager of the Public Utilities Board Eric Bennett, the council made its final decision.
Due to inflation the Public Utilities Board has asked for this increase from the council.
The increase of 20 percent will be spread over 4 years.
For the average customer, that's less than $90 total by the end of those four years.
As Mayor Newell said, this is a situation no one likes to be in, but it has to be done.
As the President gives his State of the Union address, Mayor Newell of Parkersburg gave his state of the city address during Tuesday night's city council meeting.
With high hopes for economic growth this year throughout the City of Parkersburg, Mayor Newell says we are at a historic crossroads and that Parkersburg is very lucky to come out of the recession as well as it has and now is the time to take advantage of all the new opportunities coming to the city.
He compared this year to Parkersburg in the 1940s and '50s, when a number of new businesses came to the city.
But he wants to continue to see prosperity - unlike the past.
"We as a community didn't take advantage of the economic gains we made when all these plants came then and we don't need to make that mistake this time," he says. "With this new economy that's in our future we need to take advantage and build what we can to make Parkersburg a better place to live."
With the announcement of the cracker plant and a number of new businesses coming to the city - including hotels, a medical building, restaurants and gas stations - Mayor Newell says this is a year to take advantage of all the opportunities in getting people to live, work, and play in Parkersburg.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, the council approved a new rate increase, negotiated by the Parkersburg Utility Board.
Beginning this year and continuing over the next four years, rates will increase by a total of 20 percent.
Mayor Newell says the increase will save citizens money in the long run by saving on interests rates.
And with the lower debt ratio the city has, more money will be granted for things like infrastructure down the road.
"I'd say it's the price you pay to be able to turn on your faucet and get clean water," says Mayor Newell. "In the City of Parkersburg we just built a $42 million water treatment plant, sewage treatment plant. We have a great water system. It's ground water we don't have the problems other cities have in other areas."
The rate increase will begin this year with a 6 percent increase, followed by a 5 percent increase next year, with another five percent the year after, then a 4 percent increase the year after that.