The township sewer system is currently self-sustaining, which means that only the sewer users pay for the cost of operation and maintenance of the sewer system. The Residential Equivalent Unit (REU) is the unit of measurement used for establishing sewer rates for users. One home equals one REU; whereas businesses have multiple REUs, some are billed for upwards of 75 REUs. Both residents and businesses on the public sewer system receive quarterly billings. These quarterly sewer billings cover the cost to process the effluent from the sewer, maintain the sewer system’s infrastructure, administration of the sewer plant, and capital improvements to the sewer system. In February, the township board approved a rate increase, from $85 per REU, to $95 per REU. This rate increase was reflected in the first quarterly billing of 2014.
The rate per REU has not increased since 2006. Watertown Township is the only municipality in the Southern Clinton County Municipal Utilities Authority (SCCMUA) which has not had a rate increase during this time period. Until recently, there had been enough development establishing new REUs to cover the rising costs for SCCMUA plant administration and maintenance. Rates per REU have fluctuated both up and down since the 1980’s when the system was developed, and although the rate has increased to $95 per REU, it is still only five dollars more per quarter than it was 30 years ago.
Many factors have contributed to the need to raise the sewer rates, but the predominant reasons are the lack of new residential and industrial users, and the rising costs of infrastructure maintenance. Raising the REU rate was necessary to break even and collect the same amount as 2013 to cover the SCCMUA operating costs, and in addition, to save for future capital improvements. In the event of new large scale construction or increased connections to the system, the REU rate will be re-evaluated and it is possible that the rates could be reduced again in the future.
For questions or additional information, contact Township Manager Jennifer Tubbs at (517) 626-6593 x207.