Public hearing set for proposed water rate hike in Lawrence

LAWRENCE, Ind. — People who live in Lawrence will have another opportunity to discuss concerns about a proposed water rate hike in the city.

The plan would nearly double water rates in Lawrence within a two year span, making it difficult for some families to alter budgets in a short amount of time.

“I think it’s a crime,” said Lawrence resident Mary Vest.

“If they had raised it slowly, it would’ve been fine,” Vest said.

City leaders say “official mismanagement” in previous years created the issue. The city raised water rates twice and even lowered rates once within the last thirty years; there was no steady increase in rates.

“What we’re doing is we’re going way too long between rate increases, when we should be getting smaller, more frequent rate increases. Had we been doing that all along, we probably wouldn’t even be here right now,” said Lawrence Utilities Superintendent Scott Salsberry.

Now, Salsberry says the city is in a bind with no money for repairs.

“These projects that we’re proposing are long overdue. We have to start replacing water mains, we have to start fixing our water plants, shoring up our wells, addressing our storage tank issues,” Salsberry said.

The proposal goes to a committee Wednesday night and the hearing is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Public Assembly Room of the Lawrence Government Center.