Monday, May 5, 2003

Water rates to rise in Kenton, Campbell



By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Water rates will soon go up at least 51 percent in Kenton County and at least 11 percent in Campbell County .

The rate increase was approved last week by the Kentucky Public Service Commission.

The change means customers of the Northern Kentucky Water District will now pay a uniform rate. The typical residential customer's bill will be $71.84 every three months.

The typical residential customer in Kenton County, or one using 18,000 gallons of water every three months, now pays $47.67. The typical Campbell County customer is paying $64.71 every three months.

Boone County and Florence residents are not affected by the increase. They get their water from another agency.

Still unknown is when the rate increase will take effect and whether it could go up further.

That could be decided by the Northern Kentucky Water District's staff and board of directors within a couple of weeks, said Ron Lovan, president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Water District.

"The Northern Kentucky Water District has not had a rate increase since it merged (the Campbell and Kenton County water districts) in 1997," said Andrew Melnykovych said.

"One might say it was due for a rate increase."

The new rate will boost the water district's revenues from $20 million a year to $26 million a year, Melnykovych said.

Besides establishing a uniform rate for Northern Kentucky Water District customers, the rate changes will replace revenues lost when Boone County and Florence recently began buying their water from Cincinnati, instead of the Northern Kentucky Water District, Lovan said.

The increased revenue also will be used to replace aging infrastructure and make capital improvements to meet regulations.

Melnykovych said the Northern Kentucky Water District will probably seek another rate increase this fall.

E-mail cschroeder@enquirer.com




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