DUBOIS CO., IN (WFIE) - One Dubois County community could be seeing a 25% hike in their water rates come 2019.
Patoka Regional Water and Sewage announced that they will be raising rates across the board by 15.7% next March. This is the first rate increase customers will experience in the last decade.
"It's been very consistent for years, you know for this come about now, it doesn't surprise me. I wasn't expecting it, but it sure doesn't surprise me at this time." said Tom Thacker, the Holland Town Board President.
For the communities of Holland and Stendal, the increase from Patoka means their water rates will go up by 25% starting next year.
The two communities already planned to raise rates to fund a project that would rehabilitate the current Holland water tower, and build a brand new 50,000 gallon water tower in Stendal.
"Now with our project we were looking to stay about 18% and we were there with our rate study," Thacker said. "However, when you factor in the Patoka study, and their rate increase it pushed us up to the 25% increase."
The towns feared a rate increase of that amount earlier in the year, so they began to campaign for grant money. Thacker says without the grant money they received, the rate increase could be as high as 40% to cover the cost of the project and Patoka’s rate rise.
"That's just something we've got to live with." Thacker said. "I mean that could have been done a year ago, two years ago, or even 6 months ago. In a sense it's a good thing. If we're already raising rates we can go ahead and raise them to make up for that amount."
Thacker says the two project are desperately needed for the community and says the plans will go forward despite the steep rise in price.
“We’re doing a project here that we absolutely have to do. We need to build a new tower and we need to do the rehab work on our tower here in Holland.” Thacker said. “You know it concerns me somewhat, and we were sure geared towards the 18%, but for it to end up being 25, with the justification of that rate increase from Patoka, I don’t see it as a showstopper at all.”
Holland will hold a public meeting on January 9 to discuss the new water rates. Thacker hopes that the rate will be approved that night so that construction can begin.