By BRADEN LAMMERS
SELLERSBURG — The Sellersburg Town Council has introduced an ordinance that could more than double water rates in the town.
No official vote was taken Monday and the council plans to host a public hearing before it moves forward with a plan to increase its rates. But the council did decide to move forward on the more expensive of two options presented in a draft plan water rate study presented by Indianapolis-based Umbaugh and Associates in November.
“Council members now have a working document,” said Town Council President Paul Rhodes. “We went with the higher rate, just to ensure we have the economic security we haven’t had in the water plant.”
The town has been seeking a bond to pay for $5 million worth of improvements to the town’s water system. Among the improvements are the drilling of two new supply wells, construction of a new booster station, a new 500,000-gallon water storage tank and the refurbishing of two of the town’s existing water tanks.
Rhodes said the goal with rate increase is not only to cover the cost for the bonds, but to eventually create a self-sustaining water utility.
The rate introduced in ordinance 2013-001 would raise monthly rates for town residents, based on 5,000 gallons of water usage, from $13.25 to $27.
Fire protection charges would also increase as well as the hydrant charge — per equivalent meter size — to $5.37 per month.
Several steps will have to be completed before the rate changes go into effect.
“The next thing we’re going to do is have a public hearing on water rates,” Rhodes said.
He said a date for the public hearing has not been set, but the council hopes to have it complete and the ordinance back before the council at its Feb. 11 meeting in order to vote on it.
A contract for Rural Metro Corp. ambulance service to guarantee a greater level of service for the town was unanimously denied by the council.
“We just felt it would be a redundancy,” Rhodes said.
Rural Metro Corp. offered the deal to the town during its December meeting that would provide an additional level of service beyond the contract it already has in place with the Clark County Commissioners.
According to the deal with Clark County, seven ambulances are required to be in the county at all times. The new deal would have given a dedicated ambulance to the town and the contract would extend beyond county’s deal. The county contract extends to 2017 and it guarantees the same response time offered in the Sellersburg deal.
The council leadership remained the same as Rhodes was retained as the group’s president, Brian Meyer will continue as vice president for another year and James LaMaster will again serve as the second vice president.