Village sewer rates likely to increase each year for next five years

Water rates also likely to increase

By Joseph Goral
Staff Writer
OXFORD — The Oxford Village Council discussed potential sewer and water rate increases at its April 9 meeting, ultimately deciding to postpone the discussion until the next budget workshop.
The proposed increases are due to “many county-wide system repairs and maintenance projects over the next five years,” and due to repair costs of sewer lines in Oxford, according to a memorandum from village manager Joseph Madore. The work is a result of a water main replacement program put in place by the state of Michigan.
Madore informed the council that an estimate for Oxford’s increase would be around 6.25% on sewer rates alone “each year for the next five years.” Madore also said he will present options for incremental increases sewer rates and water rates to prepare to meet annual and long-term bond costs for the sewer and water systems.
Money gained from the increase would be used to replenish funds the village used to prepay two bonds from 2019, at $122,000 each year, and from 2021 at $108,000 each year. One water bond remains with its final payment of about $245,000 scheduled for July 1, 2028, while another bond is expected sometime in June. Prepaying has saved tens-of-thousands of dollars in interest, according to the memorandum from Madore.
The village will spend around $520,000 on Park Street from the water fund, and around $18,000 on the village parking lot. The fund also has a projected $3 million of work on water mains, service lines and maintenance projects to complete over the next 15 years, according to village documents.
Council member Maureen Helmuth said she would rather have smaller increases now rather than huge increases later.
“We’ve had a couple instances where the communities were hesitant to raise rates, and then all of the sudden you got to hit them hard,” council President Kelsey Cook said. “Then community members are calling our office asking, ‘Why didn’t you just increase it like a percentage every year? Why did you hit us with like 10% at once?’ So, it definitely makes a huge difference.”

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