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Ellettsville, Ind., council approves 17 percent increase in sewer rates
[January 13, 2009]

Ellettsville, Ind., council approves 17 percent increase in sewer rates

(Herald-Times (Bloomington, IN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 13--ELLETTSVILLE -- The Ellettsville Town Council has approved raising sewer rates by about 17 percent in order to keep the utility in the black financially.

The council met Monday night and held a public hearing regarding the new rates and charges, and according to member David Drake, the rates were approved unanimously.

"Nobody wants to see their bills go up. The town didn't want to see their bills go up, and we have to raise prices to keep operating at an acceptable level," Drake said by phone Monday evening after the meeting. "For the first year, the average rate increase will be about $3. For the second year, it will be another $3. Trying to spread it out and do it in two phases."

Proposed figures from Indianapolis-based consultants H.J. Umbaugh & Associates presented to the council in 2008 showed the town needs to raise sewer rates by 17 percent to keep the utility in the black.

Officials had sought the study after learning both the sewer and water utilities were operating close to their financial margin. Rates for both were last raised in 1998.

The council is also working with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to change the town's water rates. That request will be the topic of two public hearings Jan. 26 at Edgewood Junior High School, 851 Edgewood Drive, Ellettsville.

At the first event at 5:30 p.m., the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor will conduct an informational meeting to describe public field hearing procedures and discuss the utility regulatory process. Then, at 6 p.m., the IURC will conduct a public field hearing to accept oral and written consumer comments regarding Ellettsville's request to raise its water rates. The comments will become part of the record considered by the IURC in reaching its final decision in the case. However, commissioners are not permitted to answer consumer questions during the formal field hearing.

If the town's current proposal is approved, the monthly residential water bill for a customer who lives within the town limits and uses 5,000 gallons would increase from $14.68 to $18.73, while the monthly bill for a customer with the same usage who resides outside the town limits would rise from $19.06 to $24.31.

The OUCC -- the state agency representing consumer interests in cases before the IURC -- is still reviewing the town's proposal and has not yet taken a position on the request. Currently, the OUCC is scheduled to file its report with the commission on Feb. 11.

Consumers who are unable to attend the Jan. 26 events may submit written comments to the OUCC in advance. Comments should include your name, mailing address and a reference to "IURC Cause No. 43582-U." Mail those to Consumer Services Staff, Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, 115 W. Washington St., Suite 1500 South; Indianapolis, IN 46204; fax them to 317-232-5923; e-mail them to; or submit them online at

For more information, including a copy of the town's filing, visit the OUCC Web site at or call toll-free at 888-441-2494.

Reporter Brady Gillihan contributed to this story.

To see more of the Herald-Times, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to

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