Investigate Lakemore Ordinance 1719-2021 (Sewage Rate Increase)

Investigate Lakemore Ordinance 1719-2021 (Sewage Rate Increase)

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Thomas Conroy started this petition to Ohio Attorney General's office and

On June 21, 2021 Lakemore Village Council passed  Ordinance Number 1719-2021 raising residential-in-metered base sewage rates  from $163 to $300 per quarter for each resident household, as well as other raises for other types of residential and commercial customers.  According to the ordinance found here http://lakemoreohio.org/uploads/3/5/5/3/35536472/ordinance_1719_2021_sanitary_rates.pdf the rationale for this increase was in response to the City of Akron raising Lakemore's rate from $3183.00 to $4274.00 per million gallons of sewage charged - an increase of $1091 or 25.52% in order to avoid a deficit.  Lakemore in turn raised the rate to residents by $137 for each metered household, representing an increase of 84.04% - more than 3 times what the Akron increase represents if taken at face value. The language in the newly adopted ordinance is misleading and the figures convoluted due to a lack of transparency as written, and as presented to the public. There is no mention in Lakemore Ordinance 1719-2021 as to where the increased monies will be deposited and maintained, or if all funds will be used solely to address village sewage issues. From any perspective the rates paid by Lakemore residents will be excessive

               Moreover, the increase from Akron to Lakemore Village is measured in metrics of per million gallon units. The residents pay sewage bills to Lakemore Village in units of thousands of gallons used. A fair and reasonable raise  imposed on residents in response to the Akron rate increase to Lakemore Village would be approximately
                                            $1091 per million gallons
                                            $109.10 per hundred thousand gallons
                                            $10.91 per ten thousand gallons
                                            $1.09 per thousand gallons


The power to fix rates for village utilities is exercised by the board of trustees of public affairs, or by the village council if the village administrator has been appointed. Sewer rates are always fixed by village council; however, the village is given wide discretion in establishing rates for its utilities, and it is not subject to control by the State Public Utilities Commission. The only restriction is that rates must be reasonable. The courts have even approved rates which were below what was necessary to meet expenses, and rates which produced a profit. When the deficit or profit is so large as to impose what amounts to an “indirect” tax on those persons put in the position of paying the difference, the courts will likely find that the rate is unreasonable. The village cannot use its utility rates to provide revenues for other village departments, as this would undermine the State’s authority to control village taxation. (Ohio Revised Code Sections 735.273 and 735.29)


Additionally, there are questions of misconduct in the area of misfeasance, malfeasance and nonfeasance in the manner Lakemore Village elected and appointed officials addressed Lakemore Ordinance 1719-2021 respective to Ohio Revised Code Section 3.07


There are also questions as to possible violations of Ohio Sunshine Laws which merit closer examination by state officials. Approved Council Minutes have not been posted to the Lakemore Village Website from 11/02/2020 to the present - a gap of over 8 months. Even if minutes are housed physically within the village offices it represents a barrier to elderly and disabled in terms of easy access. This inhibits the creation and presence of an informed and engaged citizenry, circumventing the democratic process of checks and balances.


Residents of Lakemore Village have exhausted all avenues in voicing their collective displeasure at this outrageous ordinance to village government. We seek intervention and relief from the aforementioned agencies of state government in safeguarding that all business conducted by Lakemore Village elected officials and appointees is approached in a lawful and transparent manner.

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