Bedford City council hears request for a water rate increase

BEDFORD – Misty Adams, Bedford Utilities Director, appeared before the Bedford City Council asking for a water rate increase. Adams told city council members this was the first rate increase since 2012.

This followed after a public hearing where there was no opposition to the water rate increase during the public hearing.

Members of the city council moved foward toward a second passage, but the approval of the new increase will not be until the next city council meeting to give the public more time to respond to the proposal.

According to Adams, some customers have moved to North Lawrence Water Authority for their water service which is a factor lending to the revenue decline. She also stated the rate was in need to help support expenses due to salary increases.

Water bills are usually based on 5,000 gallons with a minimum charge and for the use of water is currently $29.83 and with the rate increase, it will be $31.31.

Sprinkler charges, meter tampering, and tap fees will also increase, and fire hydrant use will increase.

Tapping fees will increase from $800 to $1,200 which Adams pointed out is still very low in comparison to other cities.

Public fire hydrants are the ones the city installs and private fire hydrants that are installed by a private owner must still pay fees with the companies such as Jay-C, Wal-Mart, and IU Health Hospital. If the company owns those fire hydrants they will be billed separately.

The revenues from the fee increase will also go towards the operation cost of the city utility department.

A proposed sewer rate increase (septic sewer dumps) and sewer taps were discussed during a public meeting and city council meeting Monday night.

Adams stated that when the sewer rate was increased last year, the septic dumps and sewer taps were not raised, because they treat water and sewer taps the same.

The city accepts septic haulers at the treatment plant with a previous price of $12.50 per 1,000 gallons, raising that fee to $25.00. Out of county fees will be $50 per 1,000 gallons. Many treatment plants no longer will accept that kind of waste. There are currently 6-7 septic haulers that use the treatment plant.

The city council voted for the sewer rate increase to forward to the second passage with the final passage at the next city council meeting.