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Some folks can get a little bent out of shape when their utility bills go up.

That's just one good reason to install secure drive-up teller windows at the Alexandria city utility office. The new windows would also bring the utility office into compliance with the American Disabilities Act.

The city's Board of Works on Monday approved a request to install the two 30-inch by 36-inch windows. The city elected to go with the more expensive option of bulletproof glass. It will cost about $6,000.

The two employees at the utility office have encountered some customers who are angry about their water bills rising after the city increased rates to help cover the cost of storm water and wastewater separation mandated by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

“Bills are going up, and people’s tempers are getting shorter,” City Maintenance Director Mark Talmadge told the Board of Works at a meeting this month.

It's a shame that bulletproof glass needs to be put between city employees and local residents. More than 99% of the time it wouldn't be needed. But in this case, it's warranted, especially given the ADA consideration. The city must be ADA-compliant to be eligible for many state and federal grants.

The windows will be installed by city employees during an ongoing renovation that's on course for completion by the end of the year. The project includes installation of a solid steel door.

The cost of the bulletproof windows is significant for a small city, but the need is easily justified for employee safety and public access.

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