New Haven: Will They Approve A 37% Hike In Water Rates?

By Scott Sarvay
By Maureen Mespell
By John W. Davis

November 24, 2010 Updated Nov 24, 2010 at 10:08 AM EDT

NEW HAVEN, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - A 37% water rate hike is causing a dilemma for New Haven City Council.

"A city with failing infrastructure, is a failing city," lectured one community member in support of the hike.

However, several others questioned why New Haven is not implemented a pay as you go system, instead of taking on long-term debt.

"I would vote against this plan. I would try to work in some surcharges on water bills, build up some money to handle these situations in the future so we don't have to float a large bond," said New Haven Resident Mike Jarvis.

The 37% rate increase would raise $3.8 million dollars in the form of low-interest bonds.

New Haven leaders have identified $6.2 million dollars in water line replacements that they have deemed necessary over the next four years.

New Haven engineers said they pipes are outdated because they are too small for proper water flow and between the ages of 40 to 60 years old.

"Infrastructure needs to constantly be worked on, much like an automobile needs to be worked on to perform properly. I feel like this is just another step in making our distribution system better for our customers," said New Haven Director of Engineering Keith Schlegel.

New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald admitted that he did not want a rate increase.

But McDonald went on to say that New Haven needs it and he is willing to recalculate his personal household budget to pay for his share of it.

A final vote is expected at the next New Haven City Council meeting on Tuesday, December 14.

If approved, residents would see the rate increase in March 2011.

The 37% increase would last two years.

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