Topeka talks water rates, residents talk water main breaks

This image provided by the Los Angeles Department off Water and Power shows workmen putting together the replacement pipe before final testing on Saturday Aug. 2, 2014, in Los Angeles. Crews have finished repairs on an old water main that burst and poured 20 million gallons of water onto the UCLA campus. (AP Photo/LADWP)


TOPEKA (KSNT) — A proposal being given to the Topeka city council would raise the water and water waste rates for both homes and businesses.

“There are two components when it comes to water and waste usage bills,” said Doug Gerber Director of Administrative and Financial Services.

“One is the monthly base charge and currently that stands at $15 a month for all user classes. Moving forward we are proposing that monthly charges be based on according to meter size.”

Put another way — they want to shift the cost from homeowners to commercial businesses — which use more.

The plan is a six percent increase next year, five percent for each of the next two years.

In a relatively complicated formula, service would move away from a minimum of $15 a month for homeowners to a rate based on the amount of water you use.

But for many of those attending, this meeting wasn’t about what the money is going for.

They’re angry at the continuing problem with water main breaks this summer.

“When you live in a house for 50 years like I have and I haven’t had any maintenance where has all of that money been going for the last 50 years,” said Dale Linder, Topeka resident.

While 2011 and 2012 were the city’s worst year for water main breaks, there have already been 340 breaks so far this year.

The city a admits it’s a problem, but the solution is a long term one.

The City hopes to set the new rates by early next month.


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