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Maple Heights crowd hears details of 2012 rate plan

The first of six public meetings to present the Sewer District’s proposed 2012-2016 rate schedule drew about 25 guests at Maple Heights Library last night. The presentation included an overview of the proposed rate changes, including a new affordability program and fee structure that address common ratepayer concerns. Read our Twitter thread (after the jump) that covered the discussion as it happened.

Our official Twitter account @neorsd posted the presentation highlights, questions and responses as they were posed by those in attendance. As you’ll see, there were several questions about combined sewers, stormwater, and billing. The complete presentation is also available as a PDF download.

Twitter thread for #rates2012 results

@yourNEORSD
will be at a public meeting tonight at Maple Heights library to discuss #rates2012. Join us at 7 or follow the hashtag at @neorsd

@neorsd

Public meeting tonight at Maple Heights Library, 5225 Library Lane, 7pm: Understanding your 2012 sewer rates | Follow using #rates2012

@wallywaterdrop
Thanks! Follow @neorsd for the tweets #rates2012 RT @ThingsToShea: Very ready for the live Tweets from @WallyWaterdrop tonight!

@neorsd
About 15 residents on hand so far. Few members of the media @19actionnews as well #rates2012

@neorsd
Forgot to mention @fox8news is here too. Set to begin shortly. #rates2012

@neorsd
Deputy Exec Director welcoming our 20+ guests. Starting with reference to saving programs http://ht.ly/4uMYu #rates2012

@wallywaterdrop
Tonight’s focus will be proposed rate and new rate structure. #rates2012

@neorsd
As an intro, we let attendees know we are responsible for wastewater coming from your home. #rates2012

@neorsd
Current rates in suburban communities are about $44-48 per mcf (1000 cubic feet of water), based on water consumption. #rates2012

@neorsd
Finance Director is talking about challenges we anticipate: Maintenance costs, improvements, etc. #rates2012

@neorsd
That 1 MCF minimum is currently our largest customer complaint. #rates2012

@neorsd
2012 proposal introduces a base fee of $5.85. With that, customers would begin being charged for actual water consumption. #rates2012

@neorsd
Find the full 2012-2016 rates at http://neorsd.org/rates #rates2012

neorsd
Q from audience: Why now? #rates2012

@neorsd
A: We have a large obligation with the Federal govt (http://neorsd.org/cleanlake, $3B program) #rates2012

@neorsd
Did you know? Of the 90+ billion gallons on flow we receive each year, 40% is metered. 60% is unmetered. #rates2012

@neorsd
Q: We are dependent upon Cleveland Water for accurate metering, correct? #rates2012

@neorsd
A: Many improvements in the last 6 months, and in our relationship with Cleveland Water we continue working to improve. #rates2012

@neorsd
“We are always looking at ways to improve our process and save dollars.” Deputy Director #rates2012

@neorsd
Q: Are you moving forward on your stormwater program? #rates2012

@neorsd
A: The stormwater program is in county court right now. We are awaiting a judicial decision before we take further steps. #rates2012

@neorsd
Did you know: Most of our funding is from users. We receive some grants and low-interest loans, but little Fed funding. #rates2012

@neorsd
Few more guests have joined us in the last few minutes. #rates2012

@ItsThePlumber
Great to see @neorsd using live tweets with the #rates2012 hashtag so you can follow and participate in sewer rate increase. .

@neorsd
Q: If I use .5 MCF now, I get charged for 1 MCF. In the new plan, if I use .5, will I be charged for .5? #rates2012

@neorsd
A: Correct. Our proposal is a quarterly base fee ($5.85 in 2012) and then charge users for actual consumption. So .5 means .5. #rates2012

@neorsd
That rate adjustment will have biggest benefits for the small users (those using less than 1 MCF. #rates2012

@neorsd
Q: What happens after 2012? #rates2012
[Editor’s note: Actually, the question was, “What happens after 2016?” which is the final year of our current rate proposal. The following answer still applies.]

@neorsd
A: We conduct a rate study every few years. We will do so again to plan for the next rate cycle. #rates2012

@neorsd
Q: What have you done to prevent abuses/corruption? #rates2012

@neorsd
A: Many changes since 2007, new Senior Staff, new monitoring procedures, improved decision making. Big preventative measures. #rates2012

@neorsd
Q: Tunnels are expensive. Can’t we use retention basins instead of tunnels? #rates2012

@neorsd
A: We studied a range of alternatives when we planed our combined sewer overflow control plan. Retention basis was one option. #rates2012

@neorsd
Sorry, not basis. Basins. #rates2012

@neorsd
Any questions from the tweeps? Tag it with #rates2012

@neorsd
String of questions about combined sewers. We have info about our control plan at http://neorsd.org/cleanlake #rates2012

@neorsd
Q: Why are all customers paying for a localized problem (combined sewers)? #rates2012

@ItsThePlumber
Does the plan extend sewers to areas with septic systems? RT @neorsd: Any questions from the tweeps? Tag it with #rates2012

@neorsd
Combined sewers were state of the art back in the day. Lot of waste captured for treatment. It was a design decision of the day. #rates2012

@neorsd
Combined sewes cause overflows, a regional problem. #rates2012
[Editor’s note: Better way to say this would have been “Combined sewers overflow, which causes regional problems.” The sewers themselves don’t cause overflows.]

@neorsd
@itstheplumber Plans for seven major storage tunnels. Share your location and we can check on the projects planned for that area. #rates2012

@neorsd
Questions from the 20+ guests are wrapping up. #rates2012

@neorsd
Comment from audience: Thank you for the work you do. We appreciate you sharing this information. #rates2012

@wallywaterdrop
.@neorsd just finished tweeting the first public meeting re: rates. Search the #rates2012 hashtag for the full stream of tweets from tonite.

@fourgreenis
Reading the @neorsd #rates2012 whilst giving youngest child a bath. 🙂 Thanks for the tweets.

@neorsd
RT @fourgreenis: Reading the @neorsd  #rates2012 whilst giving youngest child a bath. 🙂 Thanks for the tweets.

@wallywaterdrop
Be sure to wash behind his ears! Thx 4 following. RT @fourgreenis: Reading the @neorsd #rates2012 whilst giving youngest child a bath. 🙂

@neorsd
Thanks for following along. We’ll post a recap on our Facebook page tomorrow. #rates2012

@joshherchl
just read thread from tonights mtg, found this most interesting: “@neorsd: Combined sewes cause overflows, a regional problem. #rates2012”

@neorsd
@joshherchl Thx for #rates2012 RT. Combined sewers are a fact in NEO. Problem is overflows which negatively affect regional h2o quality.

@mborcherds
RT @wallywaterdrop: Tonight’s focus will be proposed rate and new rate structure. #rates2012

@mborcherds
RT @wallywaterdrop: .@neorsd just finished tweeting the first public meeting re: rates. Search the #rates2012 hashtag for the full stream of tweets from tonite.

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