Town proposes 27 percent water rate hike


FERDINAND — The average water bill in Ferdinand is about to go up $8 a month.

At its meeting Tuesday, the Town Council introduced an ordinance to increase the town’s water utility rate $2 per 1,000 gallons of water used. The average Ferdinand Water customer uses 4,000 gallons of water each month and pays about $29. The proposed rate increase would see the average water bill increase to $37 a month.

The increased rate will help the town prepare for coming maintenance projects on water infrastructure and help offset an increase from The Patoka Lake Regional Water and Sewer District, which sells the water to Ferdinand’s water utility. That water is then passed on to the utility’s customers. Patoka’s rate increase will be 15.7 percent and will go into effect March 1.

“It was a very hard decision, but at the same time it’s been awhile since we’ve done an increase in water,” said Council President Ken Sicard.

According to The Herald archives, Ferdinand last raised its water rates in 2009.

The rate increase will also help the town save for maintenance projects in the department’s five-year plan, such as water main replacements and maintenance on the town’s water tower and standpipe tank. A 2018 study of the tower and standpipe tank found some rust around the waterlines that suggests a new inside paint job is needed in the next few years.

“We’re trying to do the most preparatory work we can, both physically and fiscally,” Town Manager Chris James said.

Officials hope the rate increase will also allow the water department to replenish its reserve fund, which it has been drawing from for the last few years.

Before the rate increase can go into effect, the council must hold a public hearing on the change. That hearing is set for Tuesday, Feb. 19, during the council’s regular meeting at town hall, 2065 Main St. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m., with the hearing scheduled for 8 p.m.

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