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Bloomington Propose Water and Sewer Rate Increase
Updated June 2, 2016 7:25 AM | Filed under: Utilities
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(BLOOMINGTON) - A proposed water and sewer rate increase is on its way to the Bloomington City Council for approval.

The Herald Times reports that the Bloomington Utilities Service Board on Tuesday night unanimously approved a 22 percent increase for both rates as well as bond ordinances for both systems -- $7.3 million for sewer and $4.6 million for water.

Vic Kelson, director of City of Bloomington Utilities, says the increase will be used to stabilizing the department's finances and "to have monies available to improve our water quality," eliminate sewer overflows and make other improvements to both systems.

The rate change, which is expected to increase the average residential customer's monthly bill by around $9 if it is approved, is intended to provide revenue to address shortfalls in the funding available to address ongoing capital improvements.

On the water side, the utilities department is looking to make changes to decrease levels of disinfection byproducts that are close to the maximum level allowed under state and federal environmental regulations; to replace infrastructure, with a particular focus on the oldest water mains; and to implement a smart meter initiative.

For sewer, the biggest expense coming out of the increase would be on a project to deal with sewer overflows around Grimes Lane, near the site of the future Switchyard Park.

Utilities also plans to line clay sewer lines with plastic to prevent both rainwater and trees from invading the system and causing more overflows.

If the city council approves the rate increases, the rate hike for sewage could go into effect at any time, but the department would hope to implement that at the beginning of 2017.

The water rate, though, also would require approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.If approved the water rate would increase the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018.

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