MSD approves preliminary rate hike; Metro Council must approve - WDRB 41 Louisville News

MSD approves preliminary rate hike; Metro Council must approve

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Metropolitan Sewer District customers could soon face a rate hike. 

MSD approved a preliminary rate hike to pay for its operating budget along with a multi-billion dollar long-term plan to repair and upgrade the Louisville/Jefferson County sewer system. Metro Council must give final approval of the plan. 

The rate increase will fund a 20-year, $4.3 billion Critical Repair and Reinvestment Plan (CRRP), which MSD says is necessary to protect the public health and safety of residents and businesses. It will raise the average monthly residential bill by about $10.49 based on usage of 5,000 a month. The CRRP will upgrade and expand the sewage system across the entire service area. 

MSD says repairs are overdue for Louisville's aging system of pipes, pumps, treatment plants and flood gates. It says serious failures are occurring more often especially during heavy rainfall and storms. 

MSD says it has invested more than $400 million over the past decade to comply with a federal Consent Decree meant to reduce sewer overflows. An estimated $500 million of work is still necessary to reach the mandatory completion by December 2024.

MSD Director Tony Parrott says in a statement that they do not take the decision lightly.  He acknowledged the impact that even a slight increase can have on lower income residents and seniors.  He says the budget plan also includes a new Wastewater Rate Assistance Program (WRAP) designed to assist eligible customers with the cost of service.

Public input from meetings and social media resulted in an expansion of a rate relief program for senior citizens. The assistance program will be administered by the Metro Community Services Department.  It will follow the current guidelines as the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP program.

MSD says its infrastructure reinvestment will have an economic impact in Louisville of $3.4 billion and sustain 2,310 jobs/yr.over the next 10 years. 

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