The Evansville Water and Sewer Utility Board held its public hearing today on the city's plan for a new water treatment facility and possible bill rate increase.
"I think our community understands the need," said EWSU Executive Director Lane Young. "I think when you hear 120 years old it's hard to not wonder, how much longer can it go?"
The city's current water plant is at the end of it's useful life, so EWSU wants to build a new one, but to cover the more than $177.2 million project, Lane said the money is going to have to come from more than just grants.
The utility is proposing a rate increase on customers' bills.
"Usually we do a three-year rate case, so had we done that, that would have been each year much, much higher," he said.
Instead of three, EWSU laid out a five-year plan. For the average customer it would mean an extra cost of no more than an additional $3.47 per month during that span.
"We recognize that 25% of our customer base are right at the poverty level so this is an increase that weighs heavy on them," Lane said.
While we know the higher bill may stretch the wallets for some, those concerns weren't represented at the hearing.
Only two people made a point to be at the only public comment opportunity. Both said the project and its costs are worth it.
"Previous attempts to fix this had not passed, had not gone through, had been kicked under the rug for the next generation," said EWSU customer Zac Parsons. "So I am here as a citizen, as a neighbor, thankful and grateful for the opportunity to fix this for our generation, for my kids and for generations to come."
The board has one more public meeting on May 4 where they vote to send the proposal to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC).
That seal of approval is needed to move forward.