NILES - Sewage rates are going up to defray the costs of EPA-mandated improvements to the city's wastewater system.
City Council last week voted in a series of increases, beginning March 1. The rate per 100 cubic feet will go up to $3.12 per 100 cubic feet, an average increase of 41 cents over the previous rate, plus the same monthly service charge of $4.97. The plan is to raise sewage rates 15 percent each year until 2017, when the rate will be set at $4.74 per 100 cubic feet.
Niles Councilman Ed McCormick said at the council meeting on Wednesday, the city needs to raise $30 million to bring the plant into compliance.
Declaring the ordinance an emergency measure, the city voted 7-0 in favor of immediately adopting the new rates.
Beginning this month, new water rates went into effect, from $2.42 per 100 cubic feet (748.1 gallons) to $2.71 per 100 cubic feet.
Council also announced Wednesday the separation of the position of superintendent of water and sewage into two positions: superintendent of sewage and superintendent of water.
The city plans to hire a full-time employee to handle sewage, at a rate of $5,500 a month, as well as a part-time employee to handle water, at a rate of $2,000 a month.
The two employees, who have not yet been made official, will replace John Nemet, who previously held the title of superintendent of water and sewage and was paid $5,968 a month.
Niles Auditor Chuck Nader said that Nemet recently resigned his position with the city to pursue another opportunity.