EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – Are water bills about to get higher for residents of Evansville?
That’s a big question on many minds after the city proposed a new water treatment plant. The current plant was build in 1897.
Some Evansville residents have concerns –especially for those already struggling from the effects of covid — but city officials say something must be done.
“We’ve reached a point where this plant is at the end of its useful life,” said Lane Young of Evansville Water Sewer Utility.
He said the project will cost $177 million which means Evansville residents can expect higher water bills.
“Think about the people who have two and three kids and maybe their mom with with them or their dad living with them. A couple with two or three kids. I mean, you’re gonna use a lot of water,” said Evansville resident Nicole Moore.
Officials say the hike won’t be higher than $3.47 per month, per year over a five year period. Reverend William Payne, the Executive Director of Evansville Social Justice Network said that’s still significant for those who are already have trouble paying their bills.
“They just built a $30 million dollar aquatic center, we have millions of dollars invested in penguins, and now you want to raise the people’s water bills 30%, which we can’t afford to pay that we have, we have people in our community who cannot afford to buy food, that alone a pay a water bill that’s increased about 30%. So I think that this administration, is really not being truthful about the effects that this will have on our community,” said Payne.
“It’s just been bad coronavirus has just taken a toll on everyone. Deals are high people are losing jobs. Barely making, you know, we just make it on a hope and prayer,” said Tracy Mayes.
“I think if you go anywhere in the world today, civilizations in cities form around water sources, right. And so for us, Evansville, River City, the river is our water source. So in many ways, it’s the lifeblood of any community,” said Young.
Reverend Payne says he will be speaking up at upcoming public hearings.
“I do believe that this is something that we need to fight as a community. I don’t believe that it’s something that is beneficial for our community right now,” said Payne.
There will be a public hearing on April 20 for those residents who would like to express their opinion.
They say the overall process would take about a year, and they’d expect a ruling from the IURC by March of 2022.
(This story was originally published on April 6, 2021)