Rate increase coming for Patoka water customers

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

The Patoka Lake Regional Water and Sewer District plans to increase its water rates next year.

The district, which serves retail and wholesale customers in eight counties, will increase its rates across the board by 15.7 percent. The increase will go into effect March 1.

“The last time there was an increase was in the summer of 2008,” Doug Merkel, general manager of the district, said Friday. “So one of the reasons is inflationary pressure.”

The second reason involves improvements that have been made to the district’s facilities, including the last phase that expanded the water plant and a water main that leads to Ferdinand and to two water tanks.

Merkel said the district is careful to hold the line on its costs. However, improving its services and not increasing water charges in more than 10 years has made it necessary for the rate raise now.

Patoka has 24 wholesale customers, including water utilities, and 5,000 retail customers; 85 percent of its volume goes through the wholesale customers. Some of those wholesale customers are starting to consider how to cover the cost. Ferdinand is looking at how that increase is going to be covered through a possible rate increase through the town’s water utility.

The Town of Holland plans to hold a public hearing in January about increasing its water rates, possibly by 25 percent; that would cover the Patoka increase as well as rate increases from St. Henry Water Corp. and needed funding for a water tower improvement project for Holland and Stendal.

Huntingburg Water gets from Patoka about half of the 1.5 million gallons of water used daily. The utility will pass this new rate increase on to customers using a tracker system that adjusts water rates, Water Superintendent Gary Meyerholtz said. “We have the tracker in place already, but never had to use it. So we will use it for this.”

He wasn’t sure how much of an increase that would come to for customers. “We are working on those numbers now,” he said.




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