City Council could give final OK to water-rate increase Tuesday

Rates for water treated at Fort Wayne's filtration plant appear to be going up. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

City Council on Tuesday is expected to consider rate increases for water service slightly lower than those it approved by a 7-2 vote last June.

The increase approved last year would have phased in an average monthly increase of about $1.50 over five years, beginning this year. The proposal was to increase the monthly bill for a typical customer using 4,000 gallons by $1.34 in 2019, followed by increases of $1.43 per month in 2020, $1.53 in 2021, $1.57 in 2022 and $1.67 in 2023. Even with the increases, Fort Wayne’s rates would be lower than about half the communities in the state, officials said.

City Utilities spokesman Frank Suarez said the rates approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission were reduced slightly, but could not give the precise amount of decrease.

City Utilities operates 1,400 miles of pipe and averages more than 300 breaks per year. The increases would allow replacement of about 70 miles of water mains per year in areas that have experienced more than 1,500 breaks over the past several years. Areas with the most reported breaks as of last year included Anthony/McKinnie (169), Crestwood Colony phase one (134), Wildwood area (125) and Bullerman and Oakhurst (122).

The last increase in water rates was in 2012. The new rates could take effect next month.

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