The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Politics

February 14, 2014

Council tables water rate increase after four hours of discussion

Residents speak for and against proposal

ANDERSON — The Anderson City Council tabled ordinances dealing with a proposed water rate increase and improvements to the water delivery system. The action came as residents lined up at Thursday's council meeting to speak for and against the rate hike.

Democrats on the council want the proposed increase phased in over two years at either 32 percent or 21.18 percent in 2015 and 11 or 21.18 percent in 2016.

The second ordinance was for the issuance of $14.3 million in bonds for infrastructure improvements to the water utility.

A special meeting of the council will be scheduled when the financial information is determined. A public hearing on the rate increase will take place on March 13.

The council listened to almost four hours of comments from city officials, consultants and residents before deciding to table the ordinance.

Tammy Rimer, a member of the Anderson/Madison County Chamber of Commerce board of directors, provided letters in support of the increase from Hoosier Park and Phillip Lavelle financial.

The letter from Hoosier Park noted it was the second largest customer of the water utility. It recognized there would be an increase in costs, but there was a need to stabilize the water utility for residential and business growth.

Lavelle wrote that it takes financial investments to turn potential in the city of Anderson into reality.

He said the rate increase makes perfect sense and was reasonable to get the community to thrive and grow.

Local resident Kelly McVey said she is on a fixed income and didn’t agree with the requested 47 percent increase.

“You’re digging into our pockets deeper,” she said.

McVey mentioned the latest Indiana State Board of Accounts audit of the city, which questioned the spending of utility dollars to fund civil city operations.

“The city should be lean before reaching into our pockets,” she said.

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