EPA loan change will save $163K for Amherst residents

Staff Report

Here’s some good news for taxpayers, for once: Amherst is expected to save $30,000 this year, thanks to an interest rate “buy-down” by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Better yet, the effort will reduce the city’s debt by an estimated $162,911 through the end of 2024.

The change affects rates on loans for Amherst’s $10 million wastewater treatment plant upgrade back in 2002.

That’s when the state EPA threatened fines of up to $25,000 per day for violations at the aging facility.

City council, under former mayor John Higgins, borrowed big to bring the plant up to date.

Mayor Mark Costilow received a letter Feb. 18 from the Ohio EPA announcing that interest rates were lowered effective Jan. 1 from 3.65 percent to 3 percent.

“We believe the significant cost savings recognized by some communities due to a reduced repayment on large loans will allow them to accelerate the implementation of infrastructure improvements to address priority issues such as sewer overflows, inflow and infiltration removal, and upgrades/controls to address nutrients,” the agency wrote.

“I’m glad to see the state gave us something back,” said city council president John Dietrich upon learning of the buy-down.

Staff Report