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Water Rates to Increase by 12% Soon

Jasper / Ferdinand (NNDC):

The City of Jasper and the Town of Ferdinand, took steps Tuesday to increase water rates.

Jasper:

Jasper residents will notice an increase in their water bills beginning in May.

The city has proposed a water rate increase, with a 12 percent hike possibly going into effect around May. The Jasper Utility Service Board approved the rate increase at its meeting Tuesday night, and the proposal now heads to the Jasper Common Council for readings, a public hearing and ultimate approval.

Bud Hauersperger, the city’s general utilities manager, commented that residential customers would see a 0.105 cent per gallon increase on their bill if the resolution goes into effect. That would equate to roughly $4 more a month, as the average bill would rise from $35 to $39.

The last increase in Jasper rates was four years ago when the city implemented a 17 percent hike.

Since then, operating expenses have increased by approximately $500,000. Cost of chemicals and maintenance at the 17-year-old water plant continue to increase, and inflation has also become a factor.

Among the recent construction endeavors the rate increase will cover is the ongoing U.S. 231 water main upgrade, the installation of ultraviolet water purification equipment at the filtration plant and the Third Avenue water main replacement project.

The committee felt that the city is being proactive in regard to keeping up with infrastructure and plan improvements.

The Jasper Common Council will hold the first reading of the rate increase resolution at its meeting tonight at City Hall, 610 Main Street. That meeting will begin at 7 p.m.

Ferdinand, Huntingburg, Ferdinand, St. Anthony and Birdseye have all either approved or discussed water rate increases in recent months.

Ferdinand:

Water customers in the Town of Ferdinand will also soon see their rates increase.

The town council approved an ordinance to raise the town’s water rates $2 per every 1,000 gallons of water used. The average customer in Ferdinand uses about 4,000 gallons of water monthly, equaling an $8 increase and taking their bills from about $29 per month to $37 per month. Customers will see the increase reflected on their March utility bill.

One major reason for Ferdinand’s rate increase is a rate increase from The Patoka Lake Regional Water and Sewer District, which sells the water Ferdinand’s water utility distributes to its customers. Patoka’s rate increase will be 15.7 percent and will go into effect March 1.

The rate increase will also help Ferdinand prepare for coming maintenance projects on water infrastructure and rebuild the coffers after several waterline replacements in recent years.

Looking ahead, town officials know they will have to do maintenance work on the town’s two water towers, with early estimates at about $500,000 per tower. Town officials have been working with Suez Advanced Solutions of Perry, Georgia, to plan for the maintenance.

Although the current increase is significant — 27 percent for the average customer — rate increases in the town have been slow in coming, Ferdinand last raised its water rates in 2009.

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