The Seymour City Council has put its final stamp of approval on increases to the city’s sewer and trash rates.
The action raises monthly sewer bills for all ratepayers by 15.1% for the next two years for a total increase of 30.2%. The actual amount of the bill will vary depending on water consumption.
The monthly trash collection fee will go up in increments of $2 over the same two-year period for a total of $4, taking the amount from the current rate of $3 to $7.
City residents and others with sewer and trash service provided by the city will see the increase go into effect beginning June 1 and the second increase a year later on June 1, 2022.
The public had the opportunity to voice complaints or concerns with the rate adjustments during a public hearing Monday night, but no one attended to speak on the matter.
Council members then voted 7-0 to pass the increases on second reading.
Councilman Jerry Hackney, chairman of the finance committee, said the city hasn’t raised sewer rates since 2001.
“In the past 20 years, we’ve seen labor and equipment costs increase substantially, and this is something I feel like we have to do,” he said.
After looking over his own bill, Hackney said he will pay $2.67 more per month.
“So it’s not like we’re asking for a great deal here,” he said.
Councilman Drew Storey said there was some confusion about those with wells or unmetered water service. After looking into the issue, he said those who do not have meters will have their rate adjusted to reflect the same increase.
Currently, sewer rates for unmetered customers are a flat monthly fee and are based on 8 units of water consumption or about 6,000 gallons.
Those without meters will have the option of installing a meter to get a more accurate reading of water consumption. They will be required to notify the city monthly of readings and will be charged based on their actual water usage rather than the flat rate, said Council President Dave Earley.
“There is a very good chance that their bill could be lowered, but that’s something that they have to go through the process on their own,” he said.
Mayor Matt Nicholson said the number of unmetered ratepayers is a small percent of the total.
As for the trash collection fee, Hackney said it has never increased since the city began charging for the service.
“Again, we’ve had cost increases in labor and vehicles,” he said.
The city’s fees to dispose of garbage at the Rumpke landfill in Medora also have increased several times, he added.
“Even with this $4 increase, I don’t think we’re making up what we’re paying,” he said.