Environment

A Louisville Metro Council committee is delaying a vote on a measure that seeks to approve a rate increase requested by the Metropolitan Sewer District.

Sewer officials have for months pushed for a rate increase that they say will help fund critical infrastructure repair works. Any such increase greater than 6.9 percent, however, requires Metro Council approval.

Last year, a proposed 20 percent rate hike didn’t get traction before lawmakers. Since then, regulators have held numerous public and private meetings around town to win support for the plan.

The council’s bipartisan budget committee was set to take up the measure in a special meeting Thursday. That meeting, however, was canceled, said Tony Hyatt, spokesman for the council’s majority Democratic caucus.

Hyatt said the measure could be revisited next week during the committee’s regularly scheduled meeting.

The cancellation was made at the request of sewer district officials, Hyatt said.

Last month, MSD Executive Director Tony Parrott told the Metro Budget Committee that a 20 percent increase was necessary to begin work on the city’s crumbling sewer and flood protection systems.

“Decades ago the system was adequate, but as our city has grown and as the assets have gotten older, we have been strained in terms of keeping the system in working order,” he said. “We have tried in recent years to stretch our dollars, to make sure we can keep them operational. We’ve been using sort of a Band-Aid approach, if you will, to do that, and to be able to make sure we could keep a level of service.”

The agency has proposed a 20-year, $4.3 billion Critical Repair and Reinvestment Plan to fund the improvements.

Jacob Ryan is the Metro Affairs reporter for WFPL.