Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Metro Council approves higher water, sewer rates

Council also signs off on a new stormwater fee By Michael Cass • THE TENNESSEAN • March 18, 2009 Nashville property owners will start paying more money for the water they drink and the waste they flush away in about six weeks. The Metro Council approved Mayor Karl Dean's plan for higher water and sewer ratesTuesday. Rates will go up each of the next three years, starting May 1, so the city can pay for $500 million in upgrades to its water and sewer systems over the next five years. The council also signed off on a new stormwater fee, which will pay for $50 million in projects to deal with stormwater runoff problems around the county. That will take effect July 1. The average homeowner is expected to pay an additional $6.76 a month — $3.76 for water and sewer, based on a 7.8 percent increase, and $3 for stormwater — in the first year. Metro Finance Director Rich Riebeling said the city had no choice but to raise rates, even in a recession. Federal regulators have been breathing down Metro's neck to shore up its water and sewer systems and reduce sewer overflows into the Cumberland River. "It's not something you like to do, especially in these economic times," Riebeling said. "But sooner or later, you've got to do it."

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