THE HIGH PRICE OF WASTE DISPOSAL: Sewer rate hike looms for Larwill

LARWILL — A 14.3 percent sewer rate increase is looming on the horizon for Larwill residents as town council members voted unanimously to pursue in Thursday evenings meeting. It has been seven years since the town has experienced a sewer increase.According to Clerk-Treasurer Renee Sills, the 2012 sewer budget is $60,420 compared to $68,411.96 in 2011.“We spent $58,270.30 in 2011 which is a $10,141.66 overflow of cash,” Sills said. “With the 2012 budget at $60,420, we only have a cash flow left over of $2,537.79 and that is if we spend like we did last year.”Numerous repairs by Roto-Rooter at the ball diamond lift station site account for the sewer hike as feminine hygiene, baby-wipes, personal wipes and Q-tips were continuously flushed down the sewer system. Once the lift station was pumped out using 3,200 gallons of water, the self-contained grinder became jammed and a new motor also had to be installed.Since last fall, council members have exhausted all their efforts to alleviate this ongoing problem including door-to-door notifications on the east side of town in the ball diamond lift station area.“It’s a $1,000 to flush (the sewer system) just when it’s plugged up,” council president Rick Hobbs said. “It was $780 last time just to have the truck pump it (lift station) out.”“Just pumping our sewage to Pierceton was $69,339 last year alone,” Sills said.According to Hobbs, a 14.3 percent sewer rate increase calculates to an additional $5 per month for Larwill residents.“We (the town council) hate to do the increase because we have to pay it too,” Hobbs said.The rate increase will be introduced at a rate hearing in the near future, along with legal publication by town attorney Greg Hockemeyer.