Cleveland Water customers can expect higher bills next year. Alex Margevicius, commissioner of the water division, reminded the committee that bills will increase by about 3.5%. The average monthly bill for Cleveland residents is estimated to be $25.58, up from the current average of $24.71. The hike, approved by City Council more than two years ago, is the first in several years, Margevicuis said.
Damage to water mains – the primary pipes carrying Cleveland’s drinking water – was also on officials’ minds. Division workers fix 87.5% of water main breaks in eight days or less, Margevicius said.
Council Member Jenny Spencer raised the issue of breaks happening shortly after the city resurfaces a street. She asked if the division could cooperate with the Mayor’s Office of Capital Projects to inspect and fix mains as street repairs are happening. The division sets aside $4 million each year to do exactly that, according to Margevicius.
‘Until the Second Coming’
Council Member Michael Polensek asked how many water mains the city has recently repaired or replaced. Margevicius said well more than half.
Additionally, the city has shifted from a “fix” to a “replace” approach, which Margevicius said is more costly. It had focused on fixing in previous years due to urgent fire safety needs. With this new approach, the city will be “replacing water lines until the Second Coming,” Polensek said.
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Dealing with a mounting water or sewer bills or shut-off notice can be scary, especially during the winter months. Several programs can offer assistance, but navigating them can be frustrating.