Hydrant Fees Moving From Property Taxes To Utility Bills For Residents (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch

May 8, 2013 Updated May 8, 2013 at 11:13 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- Fire hydrants that are crucial in battling blazes like Tuesday morning's, will be added to Fort Wayne resident's utility tabs.

The Fort Wayne City Council preliminarily approved moving hydrant maintenance fees from property taxes to utility bills.

That will raise the average user's water bill by about $2.50 a month. It will also eliminate Aboite Township residents from being charged the fee twice. The transfer will free up about $3.5 million in property taxes, which will allow the city to use it toward other services.

“This is a shift for sure,” Pat Roller, Fort Wayne City Controller, told 21Alive. “Does it cut the budget? Yes, but there will be some expenses. We need more firefighters, we need police officers. There's going to be other expenses the city needs to incur.”

The council will give their final approval next week and the fee will kick-in Jan. 1, 2014.

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