As reported in Current in Westfield last week, Westfield City Council created a subcommittee to evaluate water rate structures and draft an ordinance for new water rates at the Jan. 23 City Council meeting.
According to Westfield Mayor Andy Cook, the increased rates will ensure the city will keep up with growth and provide the best water and waste water services to its residents. Cook said the city will need $30 million to fund necessary improvements, such as a new water plant, water tower and large-diameter transmitter lanes.
During the city council presentation, Kurt Wanninger, Westfield Public Works Dept. director, presented a chart showing water rate increases for an average home, which uses about 5,000 gallons of water per year.
Carrie Cason, City of Westfield spokesperson, said the newly-formed subcommittee, including City Council members Jim Ake, John Dippel and City Council President Robert Horkay, will begin studying water rates, research and listen to Westfield residents’ opinions while the committee drafts an ordinance.
Cason said when the subcommittee meets for the first time after Jan. 23, they will decide actual dollars, along with details for the ordinance.
“Until those details are worked out, they can’t actually draft the ordinance, so the draft ordinance could come out as early as February, and the ordinance could be open for passage as early as March,” Cason said.
During the past 11 years, Westfield water rates have gradually increased. However, for a period of time, Cason said not all Westfield residents had the same water rates.
In 2002, residents on the south side were paying different rates than residents on the north side; this was prior to Westfield purchasing private company Hamilton Western Utilities.
“Westfield began servicing all its residents after the purchase, but the purchase agreement through Hamilton Western Utilities said we were required to maintain the company’s rates for a certain period of time,” Cason said.
Beginning in 2008, all Westfield residents paid the same rates.
Cason said public opinion is important during this process, and the city encourages residents to get involved and stay informed.
You can contact your council member by visiting www.westfield.in.gov.
By Lindsay Eckert
Lindsay is the managing editor of Current in Westfield.