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City Set to Head off Water Rate Increase with Relief Program

Lloyd Winnecke_6-22.jpg
Tim Jagielo
Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke addresses the city Water and Sewer Utility Tuesday, June 21. He explained the proposed Bill Relief Program which is already available online.

A new water treatment plant on the horizon, Water Utility to add $2.27 to bills starting in July

Beginning July first, the Evansville Water and Sewer Utility (EWSU) will add two dollars and twenty-seven cents for water and sewer bills in anticipation of the new water treatment plant.

On Tuesday, Mayor Lloyd Winnecke presented a program to the EWSU Board that credits $3 to the water bills of households making less than $50,000 per year. Winnecke estimates 40,000 of the 63,000 city water rate payers will qualify for the program.

Ratepayers first need to go online to ewsu.com/BillRelief to apply for the credit. Utility Executive Director Lane Young said the online application is easy to use. If residents need help, they can get assistance over the phone or in person.

Young added that the shutoff assistance fund will increase to $600,000 per year for the next two years, over the existing $50,000 to $70,000 program.

These programs are funded by $4 million from the American Rescue Plan. The monthly credit and shutoff assistance are available for two years.

Winnecke said replacing the current facility built in 1897 is unavoidable.

“We've not made this decision to move forward in any cavalier way,” he said. “We've studied this for five years, and the need is great. If you go through the water treatment plant, you'll think,’ oh, yeah, I can see this dates to the late 1800s.’”

He said while inflation and costs on daily goods are increasing, he said building a new plant is necessary to avoid a water crisis in Evansville.

Winnecke said by the fall, the new water treatment plant should be 60-percent designed. It will be built at the current location of the street maintenance garage.

The Evansville Common Council still needs to officially vote to approve the program.