Lincoln Township board approves 3 percent increase in sewer rates

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

STEVENSVILLE — The Lincoln Township Board of Trustees voted Tuesday night to increase the township’s sewer rates by 3 percent for 2016.

The rate increase will go into effect Jan. 1 and came as a recommendation by Utility Financial Services – a Grand Haven-based financial planning company.

Supervisor Dick Stauffer said the increase is nothing new to expect from the township because they have raised sewer rates the last few years.

“A 3 percent increase is about an extra $10 per year for the average user – which is minor,” Stauffer said. “You see increases of 20 to 30 percent in other townships. We’ve never had increases of that magnitude. We approve a small increase each year to keep us up with inflation and any fees we might see from the water treatment plant.”

Accounting for the going sewer rate and the ready-to-serve charge, Stauffer said the average household is paying $44.70 a year.

Because residents are billed on a quarterly basis, the increased sewer rate is about an extra $2.50 per bill for the average household in the township. Stauffer said the number tends to fluctuate as people use more water in the summer than in winter.

More sewer money

During Tuesday’s meeting, the board learned that the township will receive a SAW grant worth $190,000.

Township engineer Dave Austin told the board the township first applied for money from the Stormwater, Asset Management, Wastewater program two years ago when it first started – along with every other municipality in the state. The Department of Environmental Quality offered $415 million to the state with about $97 million a year being doled out to different cities and townships.

“The township applied two years ago when there was a call for projects,” Austin said. “There were many, many projects throughout the state that were applied for. The purpose is to develop asset management plans for stormwater and wastewater systems.”

The township will use the grant primarily for cleaning and televising sanitary sewer lines. Austin said the township will complete a detailed analysis of all its lift stations and develop an asset management plan on what needs to be done and what the cost will be.

“We’re planning to do this over the next year, but we have the next three years to spend the money,” Austin said. “This is a relatively small project among the other projects that are involved in the SAW grant, but this is big news for the township.”

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 9, 2015)

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