Toledo residents will have to dig deeper to draw a glass of water or take a shower. Tuesday, city council passed a huge increase in your water rate. That increase will be 13-percent each of the next four years, then a 4.5-percent hike in 2018.
That hike is necessary to fund nearly $350 million in EPA mandated repairs and upgrades to Toledo's aging water system.
But that means more out of pocket expense for families and businesses and not just for water.
For instance, let's take a car wash. A place like *Seal Plus* on Dorr Street uses 85-gallons of water for each car it washes. Their current water bill runs about $4,000 a year.
However, the 5-year water rate increase passed council will mean a water bill of more than $6,200 by 2018 without using an extra drop.
Kurt Schuster, the owner of Seal Plus tells 13abc's Bill Hormann, "We definitely have got to get our money from somewhere too and its from the price of the cost of the service."
Schuster will not be able to jack up prices 13-percent but he might have to charge you 10-percent more… then work harder to get the rest. He says, "We got to make it up by getting more washes or more details, you know."
And then there's Bensell's Nursery, in West Toledo. It has thousands of plants that have to be watered every day..
First, high gas prices; now higher water rates and that means higher prices to buy a plant.
Owner Mary Machon says, "We will probably have to rethink how we water or what plants we can or cannot have."
What's ironic is that water is vital to both this nursery and the car wash. And if the water treatment plant were to break down it could be the end of these businesses.
Machon knows she has to pay the higher rate or else face a dramatic end to her business. "That would shut us down, Yes. We don't have enough well water to support all of the plants here, so yep, that would literally shut us down."
And if you're a young family the increase in prices to pay for the water rate hike may price you out of getting a car wash or buying plants for the garden.
Your *own* water rates are going up 13-percent… or by 125-dollars in 5-years.
And some parents worry that will mean forfeiting something important just to keep the spigots open.
Shane Brandhuber was asked by 13abc, "Do you really want to but back on a vacation with your family just to pay a water bill?"
His reply recognized the dilemma facing many families, today, when he said, "They want us to spend more money to get economy going but how can you when you keep paying bills and can't afford it."
The city understands this 13-percent hike is steep, but the repairs to the water treatment plant have to be made.
But the cost of items that rely on water will go up, as well.
That's inflation; and that means even less money in your wallet.