Greene Co. to pull out of Xenia city water deal

XENIA, Ohio (WDTN) – Greene County has informed the City of Xenia that it will not renew its water contract when it expires in 2018, potentially costing the city more than $700,000 annually, according to our partners at the Xenia Gazette.

The county — which supplies water to Cedarville, Wilberforce and Shawnee Hills — is instead preparing to construct its own water line,  connecting it to the North Beavercreek water system and supplying the listed areas at a cost of $5.5 million.

Under the terms of the current 20-year contract — signed June 4, 1998, the city supplies the county with water for those three areas and pays the current rate plus a 50-percent surcharge, which the city charges customers outside the incorporated portion to spur economic development, according to the Xenia Gazette.

The county pays an average of roughly $650,000 annually to the city for the water and because of its own rates for the service areas and leakage which is higher than the industry standard of 15 percent, operates at a deficit averaging $154,308 annually.

“I’m not selling all the water they’re supplying,” County Administrator Brandon Huddleson said to the Xenia Gazette.

County officials say by not having a 50 percent surcharge and with the opportunity to reduce the leakage, the county will be in the black, even with the debt service for the project.

The sides have spoken about the issue for a few months and have exchanged multiple offers. While not on the agenda for Thursday’s Xenia council meeting, the city is expected to address the issue.

Currently on the table, according Huddleson, is an offer to reduce the surcharge to 20 percent — which would need to be approved by the city and county.

That move would reduce the city’s income from the agreement approximately $100,000, City Manger Brent Merriman said, while reducing the county’s deficit to less than $70,000 this year, according to county projections.

The county would also be able to sell water to Central State, which would further decrease any deficit, Huddleson said.

The city made another offer to the county, which calls for surcharges of 30, 25 and 40 percent while the two sides negotiate a transfer of the county customers to the city.

“I’ve responded that we’re not interested in that,” Huddleson said.

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