VERNON TOWNSHIP — Township residents will see an increase in their water bills in 2020, one which will be especially impactful for homes which use a lot of water.

The Vernon Township Water Authority (VTWA) increased the water rate from $22 for the first 2,500 gallons and $12.50 for each 1,000 gallons beyond that to $25.50 for the first 1,500 gallons and $17 per 1,000 gallons after that.

The vote for the increase was made at the Nov. 14 meeting of the board and became effective at the start of January, according to authority Secretary Amie Steadman.

This marks the second increase in the authority's 19-year history, according to Steadman. The first rate was set in 1991 at $20 for the first 2,500 gallons, plus $9.35 per every 1,000 gallons after that. The first increase occurred in 2014.

The reason for the increase was a change in the rate which the VTWA purchases water from the Meadville Area Water Authority (MAWA), Steadman said. The rate VTWA purchases water was increased from $3.3339 per hundred cubic feet to $5.1619 per hundred cubic feet, according to Yvonne Shaffer, business manager for MAWA.

Shaffer, in an email, said the rate is determined by a "very complex formula" included in the bulk water agreement between Meadville and Vernon Township. The increase was made effective June 1, 2019.

She also noted that the rate varies from year to year and sometimes decreases.

Steadman did not say whether the average Vernon Township resident uses more than 1,500 gallons per billing cycle.

"It depends on family size, number of people living in a household (and) how often you do anything with water," she said.

Sean P. Ray can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at sray@meadvilletribune.com.

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