Lawrence council OKs new water rates, delays $250K appropriation for street projects


Lawrence Common Council members approved new water rates and charges for city users during its June 15 meeting. Other agenda items included consideration of appropriating a quarter million dollars toward the city’s local road and street fund. The next council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 5 at the Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St. 

What happened: The council approved an ordinance authorizing the city’s water utility to adopt new water rates and charges effective July 1. No one from the public spoke about the changes during a public hearing. 

What it means: Rates and charges for customers who use water in the city of Lawrence will decrease slightly because of a repeal of the utility receipts tax effective July 1. Gov. Eric Holcomb signed House Bill 1002 in March that repeals the tax, which is built into Lawrence’s water utility rates. Utility Supt. Scott Salsbery said the lowered rates essentially mean that customers will see their rates dip by a few pennies. He said the city plans to communicate the changes to customers on social media and the city’s website, while information will also be provided in in July and August utility bills. 

What happened: The council delayed action on an ordinance that would have appropriated an additional $250,000 for the city’s local road and street fund within the 2022 budget.

What it means: Council President Lisa Chavis requested that the council not take action on the ordinance, noting that the public was not given an opportunity to weigh in on the matter through a public hearing. A public hearing will be held at the council’s July 5 meeting because of the delay. 

“It wasn’t a pressing issue and (City Controller Tyler Douthit) didn’t mind,” Chavis said. 

City Councilor Maria Rusomaroff said if the council approves the additional $250,000 in spending next month, a majority will be used for a roundabout planned at East 75th Street and Oaklandon Road. Earlier this year, the city was awarded funding as part of an 80 percent match for the project, according to the city’s website. Design work will start this year on the $1.8 million project, which is expected to be completed in 2025, according to the city. Rusomaroff also said she hopes to see a portion of the funding used for a pedestrian signal-light crossing at East 56th Street and Bogey Drive.