Sewer rates in Terre Haute going up 21 percent

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – After months of discussions, Terre Haute City Council voted 6 to 3 Thursday evening to raise sewer rates.

It’s an increase that will help the city with their financial obligations to stay in compliance.

The first is a 16 percent increase.
Followed by another 5 percent increase.

Mayor Duke Bennett says while raising rates wasn’t ideal, the increase will allow the city to fund the long term control plan.

“We didn’t want to have to raise the rates on anybody,” Bennett said. “I just want to re-emphasize that over and over again that we’re doing what we have to do based on our mandate from the EPA.”

The 16 percent increase will be implemented starting December 1, 2016. Meaning you’ll see a higher rate when your bill arrives in January.

The following 5 percent increase will be put into effect starting January 1, 2018.

Councilman Earl Elliott voted in favor of the proposal and says we’ll see where the increase takes the city.

“I’m obviously happy with that,” Elliott said. “And I just hope everyone else that, on up the stream that needs to be happy with that will be also. Primarily State Revolving Fund.”

Councilman Karrum Nasser was one of the three council members to vote against the sewer rate increase.

Nasser says he doesn’t think tax payers should have to pay even more.

“I’m kind of disappointed in the fact that it was passed,” Nasser said. “My whole position is that the tax payers had taken care of our Long Term Control plan four years ago when we increased the rates 52 percent back in 2012.”

The original proposed sewer rate increase was 33 percent.

Despite not getting it, Mayor Bennett is happy action was finally taken.

“This is kind of a moving target,” Bennett said. “But I feel really good about getting something done tonight and getting it behind us, and then we can reevaluate over the next few years.”

Voting in this sewer rate increase means the hybrid plan of a sewer rate increase and storm water fee will not happen.

Council members felt this was the better of the two options.

Here’s how council members voted:
– George Azar: yes
– Curtis DeBaun: yes
– Don Morris: no
– Amy Auler: yes
– Earl Elliott: yes
– Karrum Nasser: no
– Todd Nation: yes
– Neil Garrison: no
– Martha Crossen: yes