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Louisville MSD To Raise Sewer Rates Again On Aug. 1

MSD sewer repair
A 102-inch sewer pipe, installed in 1948, collapsed Aug. 30, causing sections of roadway at the intersection of Main and Hancock streets to cave in.

The Metropolitan Sewer District will again raise rates next month, but less than it would like to.

Ratepayers' bills will go up an average of $3.87 starting August 1, the agency said on Monday. That equals a 6.9 percent increase, the most MSD is currently allowed.

MSD has asked the Louisville Metro Council three times for the authority to raise rates up to 9.9 percent a year over four years. That much of a hike would cover expenses for what MSD considers essential infrastructure upgrades.

"We were unable to get a sponsor on Metro Council to move the 9.9 forward for consideration," said MSD spokeswoman Sheryl Lauder. "There was much discussion but it never moved out of committee discussion."

Lauder said MSD will likely ask Metro Council for the 9.9 percent increase again in the future.

MSD's announcement comes a day after the cave-in of a 152-year-old sewer that closed several lanes of traffic on Broadway.

In March, MSD executive director Tony Parrott tried to make the case to the Metro Council's budget committee that the larger increase is necessary as the city's already-old infrastructure continues to age.

“We have a century-old infrastructure where the city has outgrown the system,” Parrott said to the committee. “We do see an increased frequency of storms, which is leading to flooding, wastewater backups collapsing in our roads and the revenue that we have is really just dealing with a band-aid approach.”

While support for the 9.9 increase was mixed among Metro Council members, some Louisville residents are for it. Sharon Cashon, of the Highlands, said the city needs to act.

"I’m a homeowner. If we have something that is starting to get really old in our house, we fix it before there’s a problem and I think that’s what the city should do,” she said.

Mayor Greg Fischer came out in support of the 9.9 percent increase for the first time in late 2017. He said it would add an average of $5 to ratepayers' bills.

Amina Elahi is LPM's City Editor. Email Amina at aelahi@lpm.org.