UNION COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT) At a time when inflation remains high around the country, residents who get water from the Union County Water District could see higher water bills in the future. 

Water district officials say the Kentucky Public Service Commission is recommending an increase of up to 15%.

Officials say the state PSC recommended a 15% rate increase after they showed concerns over the district’s infrastructure. But some around Union County are not happy with that proposed increase.

Andrew Arnold of the Union County Water District says the PSC was worried about the district’s ability to cover costs of replacing pipes after a natural disaster.

“If we have a disaster on these almost 60 year old pipes, do we have enough money to replace them? And no, we don’t. We don’t fix nothing unless it’s broke, and wait until that time, then we have to borrow the money,” he explained.

The most recent recommendation is higher than a first one of more than 9% made earlier this year, which the state rejected since it wasn’t based on the most recent financial information.

“When we first shot it to them, the auditor came back with a 9.5%, which we weren’t real pleased with, but we sent it to them, but the public service said ‘it’s not right’. Told them to go back and do it again,” said Arnold.

Arnold also says this would be the first official rate increase in two decades. Sturgis Mayor Doug Rodgers says they wrote to the PSC asking they consider not raising rates at this time, similar to when the more than 9% increase was proposed.

“It is concerning,” said City Councilman Pete Van. “We want people to move in to Union County. We don’t want them to move out because everything is getting too high.”

Some Sturgis residents say they’re worried about paying higher bills if its increased that high.

“I’m just wondering how much more it was going to cost me a month because when you live on a limited budget, every dollar counts,” said Pam Burchfield of Sturgis.

Arnold says any rate increase may not be decided for another 6 months.

We also reached out to the Kentucky PSC for comment, but our request was not returned.

(This story was originally published on July 13, 2022)