Topeka City Council approves utility rate increases

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka's governing body approved utility rate increases in a lesser amount than initially proposed.

The vote from council members and the mayor during Tuesday night's meeting was 8-2. Council members Mike Lesser and Jeff Coen cast the votes against.

The ordinance will increase water and stormwater rates 7.5 percent for three years, starting in 2021. Wastewater rates would go up 2 percent.

The original plan called for five years of increases: 9 percent for water each year through 2023, then 8 percent increases in 2024 and 2025.

An amendment to lower the amounts and shorten the timeframe passed 9-1, with Lesser voting no.

The city says without the hike, they would not be able to replace crumbling pipes, some more than 100 years old.

Opponents questioned the need for such a large increase.