Starting this fall, Galion citizens will see an increase in electric rates, which city officials said will be offset by a reduction in water and sewer rates.
Galion City Council passed an ordinance calling for the rate increase, which officials expect to see start in September.
Council members have estimated that residential customers would see a $8-$10 increase in their electric bills, which will be offset by an estimated $8-$10 decrease in water and sewer bills, which started in January.
“We have talked about this since October and have looked at the needs of residents and the rate hasn’t been adjusted since 1988,” Councilwoman Susan Bean said.
Councilman Mike Richart said the rate structure is designed to help improve life in Galion.
“Businesses were looking to leave (in the last rate structure),” he said. “This will give us a chance to be competitive with other communities.”
“it took a lot of belief in the community and the community’s future and I want to thank (Council for that),” Galion Mayor Tom O’Leary said.
The final ordinance passed unanimously, but not all in attendance were in agreement.
Roberta Wade, who is part of a initiative by Citizens for Galion calling for changes to the electric rate structure from alleged overcharges from 2005-2012.
“Someone on council needs to be the champion for residential customers,” Wade said during the public comment portion of the meeting. “An increase is totally out of line.”
“We are all citizens here,” Richart answered during the discussion of the ordinance, which took place after a 30-minute executive session when Wade left. “We all pay the electric rate. We want to create an atmosphere to encourage residents to come here. We didn’t consider this lightly. In the long run, we’ll be in better shape.”
Nathan Meredith, who just moved to Galion from Crestline, said he felt that an increase would chase residents out of Galion.
“Other things will suffer, like streets, parks and police,” he said.