City of Lakewood Dedicates $25 Million in ARPA Funds to Address Long-Term Water & Sewer Capital NeedsJuly 22, 2021
On Monday, July 19th, Lakewood City Council unanimously approved the use of $25 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to support water and sewer capital spending. ARPA’s uses are strictly limited by guidance and regulations issued by the federal government, but this kind of infrastructure spending qualifies as a permitted use. This investment will provide an important component of the Integrated Wet Weather Improvement Plan (IWWIP) and the Clean Water Lakewood initiative to improve and update the city’s 100-year-old sewer system.
“Dedicating $25 million in ARPA funds to our water and sewer systems will help address a long-term, pre-existing capital need while allowing us to address affordability concerns, directly benefitting Lakewood ratepayers,” says Mayor Meghan F. George. “Lakewood is committed to providing superior services while paired with sound fiscal stewardship of public dollars, and this use of ARPA dollars achieves those goals. We are modernizing rates while keeping money in customer’s pockets, reducing the previously approved water and sewer rates in 2022 and 2023. This reduction in water and sewer rates and the benefit to customers compounds annually to save our ratepayers an estimated $50 million over the next 20 years.”
Lakewood’s existing water and sewer system capital costs are significant, with the city spending $60 million over the last decade and facing over $300 million in estimated costs to cover the IWWIP. This $25 million investment will cover a meaningful portion of those costs that otherwise would have fallen to residents and other ratepayers.
Lakewood City Council also approved the administration’s request to introduce an Impervious Surface Fee. Currently, water and sewer revenue are tied to the volume of water consumed but does not take into account the amount of storm water runoff that property owners generate from impervious surfaces. Properties with larger amounts of impervious surfaces have a greater impact on the city’s wet weather infrastructure, but currently only pay based on the water consumed. “The new impervious surface fee ties the cost to serve these properties to the demand they place on Lakewood’s wet weather infrastructure, and ultimately leads to a more stable, fair, and equitable system,” said Mayor George.
For more information about the initiatives and projects connected to Clean Water Lakewood, please visit https://www.lakewoodoh.gov/cleanwaterlakewood/.
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