Saturday, April 22, 2000

Hamilton mayor: Show your water bill, we'll figure overcharge

BY Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Mayor Adolf Olivas wants county residents serviced by Hamilton's water system to send their most recent water bill to the city, which plans to counter Butler County complaints of overcharging.

        Hamilton officials will cal culate the difference between the bills and what the city water cost the county, then inform the residents of the difference, Mr. Olivas said.

        “When you see how much more the county commissioners are charging you, we think that you will be rightfully concerned,” the mayor said in a letter mailed this week to residents of Lemon, Liberty, Fairfield and Union townships.

        Butler County officials blame the size of the rates on their arrangement with the City of Hamilton.

        In 1989, the county signed a contract to buy most of its water from Hamilton until 2021.

        Two years ago, the county sued Hamilton, accusing the city of overcharging the county. A judge threw out the lawsuit last December. The case is being appealed, and a decision is expected this summer, said Tony Parrott, director of Butler County Environmental Services, the county water department.

        Mr. Olivas said the city's letter was in response to a recent mass mailing from the county.

        The county mailing mentioned several reasons why county residents' water bills are higher than those in the city, including that county residents use more water than city users, and that distribution lines are more expensive.

        “Hamilton has been overcharging customers of the county system,” the letter said.

        Friday, Mr. Parrott said county residents would save $70 million over the life of the contract if the city used “rate-making philosophies for large bulk users recommended by the American Water Works Association.”


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