Wichita residents will pay higher water and sewer rates starting next year after City Council members voted to move forward with planned infrastructure improvements.
The overall utility rate will go up just over 6 percent: For residential customers, that means $2.69 to $6.72 more on their monthly water and sewer bills.
It's slightly higher than last year's rate increase, and higher than the base increase anticipated this year. The additional revenue will go toward funding Phase II of the city's infrastructure maintenance and improvement project.
Mayor Jeff Longwell said during discussions Tuesday that about a decade ago, the city didn't invest any money into water and sewer projects, and rate increases were highly debated.
"It's frustrating, and, you know, at the end of the day it's hard to explain to the public that we're investing in their future, our future, everyone's future," he said.
The city decided not to partner with CH2M Hill, the firm that handled Phase I of the optimization project, and will instead hire six new employees to help lead the implementation of Phase II.
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