The City of Evansville is dedicating more of its budget to the city's water and sewer utility than in year's past.
This means customers could see an increase in their sewer and water bill next year, but the city says the money won't be going down the drain.
Evansville Water and Sewer Utility will make up 44-percent of the city's 368 million dollar budget in 2018.
That's up 17-percent from 2017.
The money will mostly go into refurbishing the aging water pipeline and the sewer system, including the city's treatment plants.
Unlike other city departments, the water and sewer utility doesn't benefit from tax increases but is funded through water and sewer rates.
An average Evansville resident will see about a 14-percent increase in both water and sewer bills starting in January.
The department says the money is sorely needed to help fund water main improvement projects across the city.
The city has seen thousands of main breaks over the last 10 years due to much of the infrastructure being over 90 years old.
"I guess if you'd imagine that one day you go to your faucet or you go somewhere and try to turn on the water, and it's not there all day long, or a business didn't have water all day long, what would you do?" said Allen Mounts of the Evansville Water and Sewer Utility. "We want to refresh it, make sure that it's sustainable, and it's there for future generations."
On the sewer side of things, the city also has plans to replace the aging sewer systems.
They include making improvements to the two water treatment facilities and putting in a large pumping station in the Sunset Park area.
The city has been working toward this for many years.
It's mandated by the federal EPA for the city to separate water and sewer lines over the next two decades.
Mounts said the rate increases are necessary to keep the city's sewer and water systems functioning for years to come.
(This story was originally published on October 10, 2017)
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