Town approves 56 percent hike to residents’ water rates

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GREENTOWN, Ind. (June 19, 2015) -- People who live in one small central Indiana town are not happy about a big spike in their bills.

The town council in Greentown approved a 56 percent water rate hike this week, to take effect on July 1.

"(It's the) big talk right now," resident Alisha Glassburn said.

"It's enough," resident Mandy Cox said.

You only have to spend a few minutes asking around town to hear the prevailing opinion about the decision.

"(It) seems like every year, every other year, they're going up," Cox said.

Town Council President Scott Deyoe , though, said the rate is necessary and has been talked about at public meetings for months.

"Unfortunately many people end up not being aware of increases until they receive it in their bill," Deyoe said.

Deyoe said the town's water utility has been running in the red for years and with no emergency fund, a water main break a few years ago left it borrowing money. Per state law, it operates entirely off bill collection.

"The only way to increase funding levels for the utility is to have a rate increase," Deyoe said.

Half of the money would go to level out finances and an emergency fund, with the other half going to a contract with a company that would maintain the town's two water towers.

"I receive my bill and sometimes I’m (just as unhappy) as the residents, but I want clean water and I want the residents to have clean water," Deyoe said.

He said the average homeowner would see a $15 increase in their bill, with the 56% increase applying only to water rates and not the entire bill.

Residents, though, didn't like the sound of more money to pay. They endured a large wastewater rate increase a few years ago and said their bills just seem to keep getting higher.

"I'm actually moving and I'm glad," Cox said.

Town representatives will host a booth at the upcoming Howard County Fair to explain the full picture to residents. It starts July 13.

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