In March 2012, North Canton city officials thought a possible partnership with Plain Township could lower residents' water rates.
North Canton would provide water to parts of Plain Township, and, to put it simply, the more the city sells, the easier it would be maintain and even lower its water rates.
And now, almost a year later, plans for that partnership are still in the lurch, and, even if it did come through, city officials think rates would still go up for North Canton residents.
"I think it's inevitable," City Council President Jon Snyder said this week.
North Canton hasn't seen a water rate increase since 2009, but Snyder said an increase is now necessary to maintain and replace water lines, starting this year.
He said the rate increase is anticipated to be 3.5 to 5 percent. For an average customer who uses 600,000 gallons a year, that would add up to about $.15 extra a month, Snyder said.
North Canton City Council members heard from an ARCADIS, a Canton-based consultant team, during Monday night's meeting inside Council Chambers. ARCADIS had also visited council in December 2011 to consult the city on raising water rates. Then, ARCADIS’ had presented a plan looking at the next three years in which water rates rose by 9.5, 8 and 5 percent.
Council members had decided the rate increases might be too steep and tabled the agenda item for further discussion.
Snyder said the city will continue talks with Plain Township in hopes of providing water to residents outside North Canton. He said township officials have been receptive to the partnership, and plans could move forward within the month.
"The salvation for our survival is partnerships with our surrounding townships," Snyder said.
The water rate increase is expected to appear on council's agenda Feb. 19.
Check back with North Canton Patch for more updates to this story.