Mount Sterling council approves fee increase

(Posted Oct. 30, 2018)

By Amanda Ensinger, Staff Writer

Starting in January 2019, Mount Sterling residents and commercial businesses will see a substantial increase in their waste water and water bills.

On Oct. 22, village council passed legislation that increases the debt fee by $50 a month. The measure passed 5-1 with council member Tom Ward casting the “no” vote.

The debt fee goes toward paying off loans. Currently, the village owes $3.78 million for enhancements to the wastewater plant and $9.55 million for construction of the water plant. Without additional revenue, the village would not be able to make the loan payments.

“This was an agonizing decision that started six to eight months ago with the (state) auditor and ended here,” said Mayor Billy Martin. “This was a tough decision for all of us but it had to be made.”

The increase was voted on at three council meetings, with the final vote taking place on Oct. 22. Over the course of the three readings, several council members changed their minds and their votes. At the Oct. 8 meeting, council member David Timmons changed his vote from “yes” to “no” based on concerns about how people on fixed incomes would pay for the increase. However, at the Oct. 22 meeting, Timmons changed his mind again and voted in favor of the increase.

“I voted ‘no’ once for this, but after further investigation I now understand the situation we are in,” Timmons said. “The mayor said if we can find a way in the future to help reduce this burden we will, and I have confidence in the mayor and council that we will find a way to fix this.”

In upcoming events, the village’s trick-or-treat night is set for Oct. 31, 6-7:30 p.m. Afterwards, a costume contest for children ages 12 and younger will take place at the gazebo across from town hall, followed by a parade from the gazebo to the Dairy Freeze where prize winners will be named. Refreshments will be served.

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