“I’ll do whatever it takes to get past this hurdle.” Sewer rate increase discussed at Terre Haute City Council

City Council 811

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Local leaders are working to find a solution. This as News 10 previously reported a sewer rate increase could be on the horizon, but is there another way out?

The financial health of the sanitary district was a big talker at the Terre Haute City Council meeting on Thursday night. Members met in a special session, before moving into its regular meeting.

If you live inside city limits, your sewer bill could go up by as much as a third.

Mayor Duke Bennett says the extra funding is needed for two reasons.  One, the Indiana Finance Authority requires all present and future bonds for the long term control plan be funded at 125% of the project’s cost. Two, the increase will allow the sanitary district to bond Phase 2 of the project (Phase 1 is nearly complete). Mayor Bennett asks readers of this article to keep in mind the long term control plan is an EPA-mandated project, and the city could be subjected to steep fines if the plan is not followed.

The new proposal? A 33% increase in sewer fees, which would raise the average household bill by about $12.

Mayor Bennett said he is willing to present the council with more options. One would include a hybrid plan. Residents would be looking at a rate increase in both storm water and sewer fees. Of course, each would be lower than the previously projected rates.

City leaders can all agree a solution needs to be reached.

“I think this next week will be big for us to find out what those things are the council wants, so we can bring it down some but not get below that number. We have to raise $5.6-million dollars a year in new revenue. We have no choice. We have to get to that number, and I think we can do it,” said Mayor Bennett.

The sanitary board will vote on the increase next Tuesday. If it passes, then the proposal will come to the city council.

If you want to voice your concerns, the board will hold a public hearing on October 11th. Discussion will start at 10 a.m. inside City Hall.

The earliest the council might vote would be next week.