Annual Water-Works Reports.
Zanesville, O., year ending March 31, 1893 ; Pius Padgitt, secretary of the board of trustees. Population, census 1890. 21,147; date of construction of water-works, 1840; source of supply, Muskingum river ; tmthod, pumping to two reservoirs on elevated sites; distribution from reservoirs and one standpipe; pumping capacity, two engines, 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 gallons respectively; one engine to supply high service, one engine 5,000,000 gallons capacity; total receipts for the year $50,744.14; disbursements, $48,328.10. The new pumping engine, 5,000,000 gallons capacity, erected April 9, 1893, and put into active operation June 8, 1893, has since then pumped all of the water used, except a small portion raised by the old pumps during February last. Concerning meters, we can but repeat what was said in our last report, that “ experience with the u»e of meters is as yet too limited to enable us to form any decided opinion as to the ultimate results, but all the indications point to the conclusion that these results will be eminently satisfactory to both the works and the consumer.” The placing of meters practically ceased immediately following the bringing of the injunction suit against the meters of the water-works by H. H. Sturtevant. That suit was brought to obtain a decree of court restraining the trustees from charging and collecting mote than four cents a 1000 gallons for water passing through a meter or other measuring device. It was the object of the trustees to fix a meter rate that would yield a sum sufficient to pay all the expenses of running the works, with a possible reasonable surplus to be used in cases of emergency. To attain approximately this lesult the rate was fixed at six cents per 1000 gallons. We were and are still of the opinion that to furnish metered water at the rate ot four cents a 1000 gallons would bring financial ruin upon the water-works department. It could be done without disaster to the works only by increasing the water rents of unmetered private consumers. This we did not propose to do, and rather than be compelled to resort to such a course we adopted the policy of placing no more meters and continuing the same old assessment plan.
On the 25th of February the hearing of the injunction case of H. H. Sturtevant against the Board of-Trustees was begun in Common Pleas Court, and Friday, March 10, the court delivered its decision against the claims of plaintiff. * * * The Zanesville water-works, like all other well conducted water-works, has an established minimum rate for domestic or family consumers, and on this minimum rate are based all other rates. The object being simply to produce a revenue sufficient to run the works with a reasonable margin for incidental or unusual expenses. The minimum rate of water rents in this city is $3.70 per year for a family of four persons. * * * On this basis all other rates are established, with a view’ of simply producing revenue sufficient to maintain the works and keep it in a safe and reliable condition.
Take it for granted that a rate of $3.70 per year fora family of four persons is the lowest that can be relied on with safety, let us consider the effect of a uniform rate per looo gallons of water.
From a great preponderance of hearsay testimony it may be safely assumed that the families who pay the minimum rate consume on an average 15,600 gallons of water per year. To realize $3.70 in twelve months from this quantity of wa«er a rate would have to apply of about 23 cents a 1000 gallons. In so far as this class of customers is concerned, the result would be the same, but it needs no argument to prove that this rate could not be paid by manufacturers or other large consumers. So, on the other hand, to charge a small family consumer the same rate that a manufacturer or other large consumer might be able to pay, would be equally impracticable, as the revenue derived would be inadequate to conducting and maintaining the water-works in a proper manner. Besides, to meter a family of this class would cost the works on an average not less than $15; add to this the cost of keeping it in repair, expenses of reading, making collections and interest on cost, and it is evident that in order to sustain the works the minimum rates would have to be increased. Again, it may be safely assumed that paying so much per 1000 gallons for water passing through a meter the consumption would be largely decreased. This would decrease the expense to the works to the extent of the coal saved in fuel and wear and tear of pumping machinery, but the general expenses of maintaining the works would not be decreased. Hence it may be concluded that for this class of customers a minimum rate could not be fixed at less than fifty cents per 1000 gallons. It is evident that large consumers could not afford to pay at that rate. It follows that a uniform rate for all classes of consumers is impracticable. * * * 5 r miles water mains.