LIMA — Allen County restaurants that shut down this spring might be able to save some money from going down the drain after Allen County commissioners approved a change in sewer rates Thursday.
Under the approved resolution, qualified restaurants can now retroactively reduce what they paid back in April, May and June on their sewer bills if they closed down in the second quarter and didn’t receive CARES Act funding.
Allen County Sanitary Engineer Steve Kayatin, who proposed the change, said the rate reduction would bring each qualified restaurant’s bill down to $99 for each of those months, or the minimal sewer charge for restaurants. For the largest businesses, that could mean a few thousand dollars in savings.
The help is especially important as Ohio’s restaurant industry faces another down-tick in business, and Congressional federal aid discussions stall. The Ohio Restaurant Association’s latest poll estimates two-thirds of the state’s restaurants are operating at 60% capacity at this time.
Allen County Commissioner Beth Seibert said commissioners approved the move because “it’s just good business.”
Depending on need, a similar sewer rate change could also be done for other Allen County businesses. Restaurants were chosen for the rate change in particular because they were hit the hardest during the earliest part of the pandemic when state orders required their closures, Kayatin said.
“It’s all here to help. That’s why we’re doing this to provide some help to restaurant owners,” Kayatin said. “Primarily, they’re the ones that were hit pretty hard with this, and if it happens again, we’ll have to talk to commissioners.”
Typically, restaurants and other places of business have had the option to request a smaller sewer bill if they end up shuttering for one reason or another. The approved resolution, however, makes the retroactive request possible for qualified restaurants.
For those interested in taking advantage of the change, Kayatin encourages them to contact the Allen County Sanitary Engineering Department at 419-996-4670. Applicants will be required to discuss their need with the department and sign an affidavit that confirms that they did not receive related CARES Act dollars in order to prove no duplication of funds.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.