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Water hike needed by city, unwanted by residents

Updated: Thursday, December 5 2013, 06:13 PM EST

By Jon Rudder

STEUBENVILLE, Ohio - A possible increase in Steubenville's water rate has residents concerned, but today NEWS9 spoke with officials at the water department to find out exactly how the generated funds would be used.

In total, the water hike would increase residents' water bills by a total of $6.50 per month, but they're not convinced that the money would be well spent.

Officials with the Water Department said there's a common misconception that the money will be used for other miscellaneous improvements in the city, but emphasize that it will directly go into the Water Department. 

The city's aging infrastructure has caught up with the Water Department and now it's in need of replacements. Some pipes in the city are over 100 years old.

"The age of our infrastructure, our water lines, is pretty old. The rust, the corrosion in the pipes, it weakens them," Assistnat Water Department Superintendent Mike Wigal said. "We're hoping to replace these lines and then reduce the number of breaks that we have."

But residents aren't so thrilled about possibly seeing their bills jump.

"We conserve, energy-saving things. new water lines, everything," Maddie Patterson said. "Why is my water bill so much more than my friends that live in other areas?"

Of the $6.50, $3.90 will go toward water infrastructure and $2.60 cents will go towards operations and upkeep of the plant.

"It's only fair the city took their responsibility, and took care of the problems that are creating the problem before you ask taxpayers and burden them with additional monies," Teresa DiCarlantonio said.

Wigal tells NEWS9 that the Waterd Department has already cut costs as much as they can and operates with a skeleton crew.

"This water rate increase is going right back into our system. Thisis not going to be money for other departments in the city. This is strictly for the Water Department," he said.

On Tuesday, City Council will have a special informational session at 6 p.m. geared toward informing residents directly about what the rate increase will be. The third reading for the increase will take place Dec. 17.

Water hike needed by city, unwanted by residents

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