Lafayette Utilities System Director Terry Huval will be before the council at its Nov. 10 meeting with a extensive power point presentation making the case for why the public utility needs to institute a rate increase over the next two years. An ordinance for a rate increase was introduced in September, then pulled by the Durel administration before it came up for final adoption. Durel and Huval have sensed a lack of support on the council for the proposal, and wanted more time to win over recalcitrant councilmen. "Clearly we needed to spend more time with the council so that they understand why we really need to do this," Huval says. "We feel this briefing is going make the case for why this is the right business decision."

Huval says low fuel costs mean that even with an approved rate hike, the average utility bill in Lafayette will fall in 2010 and rise no more than $14 per month, per household, in 2011, although the utility expects that the average rate increase could be as little as .50 cents more per household per month in 2011. He adds that not raising rates will affect service, likely leading to drastic cutbacks to tree-trimming around utility lines and possible fines for not having the wastewater system in full regulatory compliance.

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