City Hikes Water Rates

Topeka water customers will soon see their bills soak up a little more cash.

City council members approved an ordinance Tuesday night hiking water, stormwater and sewer rates starting May first. It includes additional increases through 2011. While the minimum water rate stays the same at $15, the rate for use over 1500 gallons goes up 30-percent -- from $2.48 to $3.28 per thousand gallons for single-family homes. (A complete list of rate increases is attached.)

City public works officials say the hike is needed, in part, because a soon-to-be completed Army Corps of Engineers study of the levee system could reveal as much as $17 million in needed repairs.

The vote on the rate ordinance was six to three. John Alcala, Sylvia Ortiz and Lana Kennedy opposed it. Alcala said he'd like the city to explore ways to help elderly and low-income people who'll be most impacted by the rate increases.

Council members also approved a joint resolution encouraging Amtrak to include more stops in Topeka, including proposed rail service from Kansas City to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Shawnee County Commissioners previously approved the resolution.


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