Environment

Louisville’s Metro Council is set to decide Thursday if it will grant a rate increase requested by the Metropolitan Sewer District.

MSD has been making the case for a significant rate increase for more than a year. Last year, a 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.

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.

Any rate increase larger than 6.9 percent requires Metro Council approval. But at last month’s committee meeting, lawmakers introduced the possibility they’d approve a compromise measure.

In addition to the full 20 percent increase, council members will consider a separate ordinance on Thursday. This measure would authorize the MSD Board to raise rates by itself up to 10 percent annually without Metro Council approval for the next four years.

Both possibilities are on the agenda for the meeting, which is at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Assignment Editor.