YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Commissioners have some big decisions to make on the future of the Jackson-Milton Water District.
The choice is to sell off the 1,100 customer district or keep it. and raise rates so it can remain solvent. A recent study suggests the system’s rates are far too low.
“You have to be able to operate, maintain and provide the best service, and unfortunately, it takes money,” said Mahoning County Engineer Pat Ginnetti.
The consultants recommended doubling the current rate of $5.25 for a thousand gallons, which hasn’t been raised in 15 years up to $10.50 starting this summer and then increasing each year through 2027.
“That gives you a perspective of alright, you have x amount of customers, you use this much water, you pay this much for water, and here is what your rate needs to be,” Ginnetti said.
It’s unclear when commissioners will decide what to do. Time may not be on their side. Ginnetti warns if no decision’s been made by July 1, the U.S. EPA could step in.
“The EPA has been contacting us about the rates and why they haven’t been increased in a while,” Ginnetti said.
Mahoning County Commissioner David Ditzler said they need to do what benefits the customer most with their decision.
“Those are the things that we’ve had to take into consideration and try and decide how to move forward,” Ditzler said.
Commissioners say they could take some action over the next couple of weeks.