Mishawaka council OKs new water rates
The new rates will go into effect in a few days, said Mishawaka Utilities General Manager Jim Schrader. They have been in the works since last summer.
This represents the first change in water rates in 10 years. The new rates aren't just a change in prices but a simplification of the city's complicated rates.
They would eliminate the built-in discount for customers who use more water, along with the different rates paid by customers who are in the service territory of the long-defunct Clay Utilities. And they would charge 15 percent more for all customers outside of the city limits.
"We've seen our costs increase, we've seen the cost of just about everything increase to the point we were absorbing a lot of that," Mayor Dave Wood said. "We've reduced staff over time and have continued to do so even up to this past year. We've made about every cut we can possibly make."
Wood said the city has deferred maintenance as part of cost-saving measures but said without the rate adjustment, service would be affected.
These are essentially the same rates that the city initially proposed last summer, except for minor reductions. Customers can expect to spend about about 25 cents less per month than the original proposal. The reduction comes because the city expects to save an estimated $50,000 each year now that Mishawaka Utilities has withdrawn from state regulation of its water utility rates, according to John Julien, an accountant with Umbaugh & Associates who's been advising the city on the rate case.
On Aug. 20, the council had voted 9-0 in favor of the originally proposed water rates at the start of a several-month process to seek approval for the rates from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. Then, in December, the city water utilities succeeded in withdrawing from the IURC.
That allowed the city to take its water rates straight to the city council for approval. So, the city pulled its rate case from from the IURC and took it to the council for Monday's vote.
South Bend Tribune staff writer Bob Blake contributed to this report