South Bend Common Council looks at raising sewer rates - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Common Council looks at raising sewer rates

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The South Bend Common Council is taking a look at raising sewer rates.

The Public Works Department wants to make improvements to the city's sewer system that would reduce overflows into the St. Joe River.  The city is under certain federal requirements that need to be met by 2017, but that comes with a cost to ratepayers.

The Public Works Department is asking the Common Council to approve a 9% increase every year through 2017 to get the job done. The department's director, Eric Horvath, says he understands it is a tough choice.  "Nobody wants to see rates go up. We hear that loud and clearly, but I think tough choices now mean lower rates later," Horvath said to the Council.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg echoed Horvath's remarks. "No elected official wants to raise rates. It's never popular. But if we don't act now, everyone will have to pay even more in just a few years. It's time to be responsible and keep future costs down while we have the chance, not punt the tough decisions to our successors," said Buttigieg.

Council members brought up that they have already approved rate increases in years past.  Councilman David Varner questions whether the project can been done cheaper.  No one spoke in support of the bill, but a number of people raised concerns.

The Council ultimately decided to table the increase during Monday night's meeting.  They're expected to bring it back up at their meeting on January 14th.

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