Northfield Village -- Property owners may see an increase this spring in the fees the village charges for sewer maintenance.
Village Council gave first reading Feb. 13 to an ordinance that increases the fees for both residential and commercial properties.
"Basically, these rates have not been increased since January 2001," said Village Law Director Brad Bryan, adding that residential fee increases are "modest," while commercial rates are higher, but "reasonable."
He said the increases would go into effect in April, the start of the second quarter.
Council also approved ordinances concerning regulations, including fees, for park pavilion and athletic fields, fee increases for real estate point-of-sale inspections, and ordinances pertaining to fire inspections.
According to the proposed sewer maintenance fee ordinance, quarterly fee increases would include:
• Single family homes and multifamily units: From $31.90 to $33.
• Motels and hotels: From $22.70 to $30.87 per unit.
• Commercial users per unit, including stores and professional offices: From $63.80 to $86.77.
• Industrial properties: From $63.80 to $86.77 if the principal place of business is within the village and from $95.70 to $130.15 if it is outside the village.
• Schools: From $1.73 to $2.35 per student, teacher and other employees.
Penalty for delinquent payment would increase from $75 to $150.
Village Service Director Jason Walters said the increase is needed because costs of maintaining the sewers have increased over the years.
"I've been working with the same budget for 12 years," he said.
"It's not an astronomical change," he added."
"Costs have gone up," said Council President Mary Volny. "We have to do it."
Councilor John Bolek said he wants to take the ordinance to three readings in order to give Council more time to discuss the matter, as well as property owners time to consider it.
"We're asking people to pay more and they should have time to comment," he said.
Other Council business
• Council approved an ordinance that increases the fee charged for exterior point-of-sale inspections required when a property is sold from $50 to $100.
"We've been charging $50 for a long time," said Bryan.
The ordinance also increases the penalty when a property is sold without an inspection from a minor misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $100, to a fourth-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up $250.
It also clarifies that property buyers, sellers, real estate agents and escrow or title agents are all liable.
Bryan said that only "a very small minority" of sales are completed without inspections.
• Council approved an ordinance establishing regulations and fees for park pavilion and athletic field use.
"This was required by the building department to put some structure to the process," said Bryan.
Under the new regulations, pavilions can be rented for up to eight hours on a first-come, first served basis with an application filled out and turned in to the village's building department.
A $50 refundable cleanup deposit will be charged and non-residents will be charged a $150 nonrefundable rental fee.
Those wishing to use athletic fields must now submit an application for a reservation permit with the building department and pay a $250 fee per season. Walters said that prior to this, athletic organizations could use the fields for free.
"That's why they're all knocking on the door to come her. It's nothing," he said.
"This is a reasonable charge for the year," said Volny.
Fields must be cleaned after each event or the village will charge a $100 cleanup fee, which if not paid within 14 days could result in a suspension of the permit.
• Council approved two ordinances that specify that village fire inspectors are authorized to inspect multifamily residential structures at least every three years and that the village adopts the "most recent" edition of the Ohio Fire Code, rather than the 1998 edition.
• Council conducted a roughly 90-minute execute session. Bryan said topics included "threatened" litigation and a real estate transaction and no action was taken afterwards.