The Board of Trustees recently concluded the long and involved process of contemplating the question of whether Township households and businesses with sanitary sewer service through the Summit County Department of Environmental Services (DOES), as well as water service through the City of Cleveland Division of Water, should continue to receive flat rate sewer bills or be converted to metered rate sewer billing. As part of the decision-making process, and on or around June 30, 2011, the Township sent letters to affected Township households and businesses.
Click here for a copy of the letter sent to affected Township households and businesses.
This page included a simple survey that was to be completed and submitted online. In addition to enabling online survey response, those receiving letters were encouraged to deliver, mail, fax or e-mail their survey responses to Township Hall. Each respondent was asked to enter street address, name, and e-mail address before submitting a completed online survey. Lastly, and to facilitate compilation of survey results, the Township asked that only one survey response be submitted per address. Letter recipients were provided a month to respond to the survey, with a deadline of August 1, 2011. The Board of Trustees thanks all survey respondents for their input.
Roughly 850 letters were sent, and nearly 400 responses were received, including 140 online responses and nearly 260 responses via other available methods. The total survey response rate was almost 50%, which - for a survey - is both significant and impressive. Responses were filtered to ensure that no more than one response per household was counted. Among all resulting total responses, approximately 85% preferred to convert to metered rate sewer billing, and approximately 15% preferred to continue with flat rate sewer billing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are frequently asked questions related to sewer billing. If you have a question related to sewer billing that is not listed, please e-mail it to email@example.com, and an answer will be posted as quickly as possible.
Q: If sewer billing switches from flat rate to metered rate, and if my new (metered rate) bill is lower than my old (flat rate) bill, will I receive a refund for past overpayments?
A: In the event that conversion occurs from flat rate to metered rate sewer billing, any change would be effective on a specific date and move forward. To implement conversion, and based on how conversion has occurred in other communities, Summit County DOES would likely send a bill for the final period covered by the old (flat rate) account, close the old (flat rate) account when paid, open a new (metered rate) account, and send a bill for the first period covered by new (metered rate) account. Both old and new accounts would be billed separately, with no refunds available or applicable.
Q: What is the anticipated date to switch from flat rate to metered rate sewer billing?
A: If conversion is requested by the Board of Trustees, Summit County DOES would likely implement conversion either with fourth quarter 2011 or first quarter 2012 sewer bills.
Q: What if my neighbor wants to stay with flat rate sewer billing, but I would benefit from metered rate sewer billing?
A: Summit County DOES permits only one method of sewer billing per political subdivision (in this case, the Township), and requires the decision to be made by the legislative body (in this case, the Board of Trustees) of each political subdivision. As a result, either all Township customers will continue to receive flat rate sewer bills, or all Township customers will be converted to metered rate sewer billing.
Q: Is there a discounted sewer billing rate for seniors on a fixed income?
A: Summit County DOES offers many discount programs, and many apply regardless of billing method. Contact Summit County DOES @ (330) 926-2435 for more details on available discount programs.
Q: Is there a discounted sewer billing rate for our irrigation/sprinkler system?
A: In the case of flat rate sewer billing, Summit County DOES automatically applies a 10% discount to each customer's bill during the summer months of June, July, and August. In the case of metered rate sewer billing, Summit County DOES offers customers the ability to pay for, install, and read a deduct (second) meter, in coordination with Cleveland Water and Summit County DOES. Contact Summit County DOES @ (330) 926-2435 for more details on installing a deduct meter.
Q: Do you have to bill quarterly, or can we receive monthly invoices?
A: Summit County bills all customers quarerly and does not currently offer monthly billing as an option.
Q: Why are you only showing one quarter of meter reads for a comparison, when a winter read doesn't reflect summer usage?
A: The Township tried for more than two years to obtain something - anything - from Summit County DOES for customer evaluation. Summit County DOES tried for a similar length of time to obtain complete and accurate Township customer billing information from Cleveland Water. The information finally obtained was for only one quarter, and was six months old by the time it was received by the Township. While information for a longer period would have been more desirable and useful for customer evaluation, what was obtained was quite simply all that was able to be obtained.
Q: Why are Summit County DOES sewer billing rates in the Township higher than rates charged in some other communities?
A: Every community has different reasons for why it charges what it charges for each services. See below for a summary of how Summit County DOES sewer rates are established.
Q: Cleveland Water is not consistent in its meter reads - how could this affect our sewer bills?
A: Summit County DOES would base metered rate sewer bills on water meter readings provided by Cleveland Water. In the event of an estimated water bill, Summit County would have to estimate the corresponding sewer bill. In the event of water billing error, the error would be repeated and - most likely - compounded on the corresponding sewer bill.
Q: Who sets sewer rates, and are they published anywhere?
A: Summit County Council sets sewer rates for all Summit County DOES customers, including those in the Township. Summit County last began to increase all rates - flat rate and metered rate - in 2007, following a rate study conducted in 2006. 2011 is the final year of the current rate increase schedule. While no additional rate increases are currently pending, and while no additional rate study has yet been proposed, it is probably safe to assume that rates will be studied again and, most likely, continue to increase in the future. Summit County's current sewer rates are published in Chapter 923 of the Summit County Codified Ordinances, which can be found in the Legislation area of the County Council section of the Summit County website, http://www.co.summit.oh.us/, as well as at either of the following direct links: http://220.127.116.11/summit.htm or http://www.conwaygreene.com/Summit/lpext.dll?f=templates&fn=main-h.htm&2.0.