TOPEKA (KSNT) – After months of debate, the Topeka City Council approved a set of rate hikes which will see increases in monthly water bills over the next three years.
On an 8-2 vote, the council approved increases of 6% in 2015, 5% in 2016 and another 5% in 2017.
The vote came after months of back and forth discussions between residents and the council and within the council itself.
While the city says it needs the increases to try and get a handle on infrastructure replacement, two councilmembers Chad Manspeaker and Eileen Schwartz said many city residents simply can’t afford the hikes.
Public outcry in late September prompted the council, which was set for a vote at that time, to send the rate plan back to city staff to see if the increases could be adjusted.
The plan approved Tuesday night was essentially the original proposal.
“I am very proud of my council person for standing up for the residential,” said city resident Theresa Miller, “. because just because it’s just a little increase it’s like, somebody think five dollars is not much, out of five dollars I can get three meals, so five dollars to me is a lot of money.”