Cuyahoga County Sanitary Engineer
Maintenance and Improvement Program
Frequently Asked Questions
Below, please find answers to some questions we are regularly hearing.
- When was the sanitary sewer assessment program approved?
The sewer assessment, Ordinance 264-07, was unanimously passed by Parma City Council meeting on March 10, 2008.
- Were there public hearings held on the program?
Yes. All meetings of Parma City Council are open and advertised to the public. The legislation was considered and discussed over several months in Governmental Operations Committee prior to its approval. A public hearing was held prior to Parma City Council’s vote on the issue on the same evening, March 10, 2008. Approval was given on the third reading of the ordinance.
- How much will this sewer assessment program cost me?
The assessment will cost the average homeowner with 55 feet of front footage about $120.00 a year or $2.15 a foot. The $2.15 is comprised of $1.75 a foot for sanitary sewer, $.25 a foot for storm sewer, and $.15 a foot for water line improvements.
- How is this fee different than the maintenance fee on my NEORSD bill?
The fee on your quarterly sewer bill is for the maintenance of waste water treatment facilities. This fee has nothing to do with maintenance of the actual sanitary sewer lines in Parma and does not provide a mechanism for upkeep or improvements to sanitary infrastructure.
A message from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District:
You’re not getting charged for the same service twice. We promise.
Some of our Parma customers were confused by the Sewer District's Bill Stuffer which stated "your investment helps build and repair old and damaged sewers."
Some residents thought that the City of Parma was duplicating costs by charging for a service that the Sewer District already provides.
Well, the scoop is that the City of Parma and the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District are referring to two different types of sewers. The City of Parma is charging sewer assessment fees for local sewers. The Sewer District is charging for the repair and rehabilitation of large interceptor sewers that these smaller local sewers tie into. It is our large interceptor sewers that carry wastewater from your local sewers to one of our three wastewater treatment plants. There, the wastewater is cleaned and ultimately released back into Lake Erie.
You can find the original bill insert on our Customer Service
homepage. For more information accompanied by an illustration of a typical sewer system, please visit wheredoesitgo.org/wastewater.htm
- Who do I call if I have questions about my bill?
If you have questions regarding the calculation of the assessment, believe that the measurement of your front footage is incorrect or have questions about the work performed, please call the County Sanitary Engineer Sewer Assessment Hotline at 216-443-8242.
- Why is the assessment on our 1st half 2008 taxes when the program isn’t taking affect until 2009?
The sewer assessment and all special assessments are collected currently unlike actual property taxes which are paid 6 months behind. So, despite this tax duplicate being for the 1st half of 2008, the assessments are for the first half of 2009.
- What is the street light assessment?
Included in the special assessment on your tax duplicate is the street light assessment. The street light assessment has been on your tax duplicate since at least 1974. This is the mechanism by which the City of Parma pays our street lighting bill from the Illuminating Company for lighting, fixing, repairing and maintaining street lights throughout the City. If you are aware of a street light that is out and in need of repair, please contact the Service Department at 440-885-8186.
- Why aren’t the special assessments broken down on the tax duplicate?
Although the City has two special assessments, they are both included in one total on your tax duplicate. You are able to view the special assessments broken down on the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s website located at http://auditor.cuyahogacounty.us/. In addition, Mayor DePiero has sent a letter to Cuyahoga County Treasurer, Jim Rokakis, requesting that special assessments be broken down on future tax bills.
- Why is it on my tax duplicate?
The tax duplicate was simply used as a billing mechanism as it was the least expensive option to the taxpayers (no additional fee to administrate).
- Why wasn’t I notified?
Local media covered the discussions of the new assessment to include The Plain Dealer and the Parma Sun Post. In addition, extensive information was included in the City of Parma’s May 2008 Newsletter which is sent to every resident in the City.
- What does this agreement do for me?
It provides for replacement, routine maintenance and the upgrading of local sanitary sewer lines. The agreement also created a capital component for improvements to storm sewer and water lines. The goal of the program is designed to help solve chronic flooding and sewer-related problems for Parma residents.
- Why is the new sewer project better than the City of Parma’s own program?
In essence, the assessment program allows Parma and its residents to save money by having Cuyahoga County crews do regular maintenance and upgrades without adding any additional manpower to the city’s workforce. This allows City of Parma sewer crews to perform maintenance on the storm sewer system and better maintain catch basins.
- How much control and discretion does Parma have to fix sewer problems?
The contract is tailored specifically to address sewer issues in Parma, giving city officials the discretion to establish priority standards as to which projects need the most attention. Parma City Council and the Administration will annually review the work completed by the Sanitary Engineer and determine if the contract should continue.
- Will my fee assessment be spent on fixing local sewer problems?
Parma’s contract with Cuyahoga County is separate from those signed with more than 30 other suburbs in Greater Cleveland. The monies paid by Parma residents and businesses are guaranteed to be spent in Parma.
- Why do we have to do this new program now?
Mayor DePiero says infrastructure remains a critical issue for the area, stating this unique collaboration with Cuyahoga County is the most effective and efficient way to fix serious programs facing city residents.
- How will county crews know where to find the more serious sewer problems?
There will be an ongoing dialogue between Cuyahoga County and Parma City Engineers and the Parma Service Department in order to team-up and assess sewer problems while, at the same time, cleaning lines and creating and updating a project priority list.
- Will there be someone to give me straight answers about the sewer fees?
Yes. Don’t hesitate to call either Cuyahoga County’s Hotline (216-443-8242) or Parma City Hall for answers depending on the nature of your question. We will try and assist you quickly and efficiently.
- If the contract was agreed to in March, has work been completed in the City to date?
Yes. Despite the fact that Parma residents had not yet begun paying for the service, the Cuyahoga County Sanitary Engineer’s Office did begin cleaning and televising lines in certain areas of the City. You can see more by clicking on the following links.
Cuyahoga County Sanitary Engineer - Progress Update 10.27.08
(Powerpoint Presentation - 5.8mb)
Cuyahoga County Sanitary Engineer - Progress Update 5.18.09
Cuyahoga County Sanitary Engineer - Progress Update 10.5.09
Cuyahoga County Sanitary Engineer - Progress Update 4.12.10
Cuyahoga County Sanitary Engineer - Progress Update 11.15.10
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