FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - It appears most of the people in Fort Wayne are not opposed to an increased water rate.
Only five people were in the audience for the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission field hearing at Homestead High School Monday.
Neighborhoods planed for new water mains
Anthony and McKinnie
Crestwood Colony Ph1
Bullerman and Oakhurst
Schele and Raymond
Arlington and Sherwood
Tamarack and Blums
Fortest Hill and Northwood Heights
Hoagland and Kinsmoor
Water rates by year
In City Rates:
Phase 1 (2019) $27.73
Phase 2 (2020) $29.38
Phase 3 (2021) $31.14
Phase 4 (2022) $32.94
Phase 5 (2023) $34.86
Out of City Rates:
Phase 1 (2019) $31.64
Phase 2 (2020) $33.19
Phase 3 (2021) $34.91
Phase 4 (2022) $36.59
Phase 5 (2023) $38.38
Two spoke against the proposed increase, which city leaders said would cost the average user less than $2 a month.
"The rate increase is warranted probably to pay for some of these. But I believe the percentage the rate increase is a little higher than what most utility customers should be forced to pay," said Neil Warner.
The rate increase, approved by Fort Wayne city council, would be phased in over five years.
However, recent increases by Indiana Michigan Power and NIPSCO has Warner worried about his neighbors.
"The majority of them are retired. So they are on a fixed income so this rate increase their livelihood," he said.
The Fort Wayne Public Works department said the money would go toward replacing about 40 miles of failing water mains.
Some neighborhoods have more than 100 breaks.
"When you have a city that continues to grow and develop and you have pipes that are aging, it's important to keep that infrastructure up," said spokesman Frank Suarez.
Most of the failing pipes are made from cast iron and were installed in the 1950s and 1960s.
"I believe those are repairs that should've been done all along and not financed through a 33 percent over five year rate increase," said Warner.
Residents can submit written comments by October 23 via the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor's website at www.in.gov/oucc/2361.htm, via email at uccinfo@oucc.IN.gov, or by mail at:
Consumer Services Staff
Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor
115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South
Indianapolis, IN 46204