Lawrence residents will have chance to weigh in on proposed water bill increase

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LAWRENCE, Ind. -- A water bill increase could be on its way for Lawrence residents, who will have their first chance Monday to stop the proposal or give it momentum.

During the regularly scheduled common council meeting, Council President Joe Williams says they plan to take public comment on the recommendation for a 97% rate hike by 2019.

Another councilor, Sherron Freeman of District 3, says official mismanagement in previous years created today’s crisis of an old, poorly-functioning water system.

“We’ve been kicking the can down the road for some time now and we’ve got to stop,” said Freeman.

She believes the proposed solution, simply asks too much of Lawrence taxpayers.

“I just don’t want my citizens or residents here in the city of Lawrence to just be, have to put in that money crunch,” said Freeman.

Freeman says the city should’ve had slow, steady rate increases over many years. Instead, this proposal will nearly double water bills for customers in just two years.

Alejandro Garcia is one of the many people in Freeman’s district who can’t believe the city would even consider raising their water bills by so much, so quickly.

“I’m pretty sure it will make it hard for a lot of families around here and that’s what worries me,” said Freeman.

But when we spoke to the mayor a week ago, he claimed all the money is desperately needed now.

“We have to be able to get ourselves in a position where we can make the fixes, if we don’t those prices just keep getting higher and higher,” said Collier.

Freeman, who has been fielding calls from disappointed residents all week, hopes Garcia and others show up for Monday’s council meeting.

She says that’s the only way all city officials will understand the potential impact.

“I would love to see all the residents, as many can fit into the government center, come in and just flood it,” said Freeman. “Just let me know how you feel. I need to know how you feel.”

The council’s meeting starts at 6:30 in the public assembly room of the government center.