Environment
8:00 am
Mon July 30, 2012

MSD Considers 6.5 Percent Rate Hike, Again

The Metropolitan Sewer District board will consider its annual budget for the next fiscal year as well as a proposed 6.5 percent rate increase during a special session Monday.

Last week, Mayor Greg Fischer announced his support for an MSD, Louisville Water Company merger, which was recommended by a task force earlier this year. The possible savings from merger could be anywhere between $14 million to $24 million, according to an outside audit firm.

MSD director Greg Heitzman says a merger could eventually translate to cost-savings for customers and lower rate increases.

“The Water Company is on about a 4  percent annual rate increase rate, MSD has been on a 6.5. We pull the two together we can begin to pull those rate increases down," he said.

This would MSD’s fourth consecutive 6.5 percent rate increase. According to correspondence between board members in May, the rate increase would boost the average monthly waste water bill from $35.60 to $37.91.

According to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies Service Charge Survey, the average national rate for the same time period is projected to be $36.18 per month. The NACW estimates the average rate increase this year will be 7.4 percent.

MSD officials say the rate increase in Louisville is in large part necessary to comply with the Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency. MSD is under a consent decree, which Heitzman said is common among large cities east of the Mississippi.

Last week, Heitzman called the nearly $850 million consent decree set in 2005 affordable. He said while it is a liability to the community, MSD is on schedule and under budget to date.

One report shows Louisville pays around 50 cents more for sewage bills than the national average.