Water bills for St. Louis residents could rise by 20% due to Board of Aldermen proposal

(UI) — There is a chance that water costs for St. Louis households might increase significantly.

Alderwoman Anne Schweitzer of the 1st Ward submitted a measure on Friday that would raise water costs by around 20%.

This law was inspired by a string of water main breaches that happened during the previous year, including one that resulted in I-64 being flooded in May. Schweitzer stressed the urgent need for repairs and voiced alarm about the city's water infrastructure's deteriorating state.

In a study published in December, the former state auditor Nicole Galloway projected that it would cost $77 million to improve the water pumps, while $30 million would be required to fix the Chain of Rocks pump station.

It will be the Water Division's obligation to incur the expenditures as it is responsible for paying its own bills. In order to pay the required improvements and prevent further depletion of reserves, Schweitzer stated her hope that the division will be able to produce more money as a result of the increase in water rates.

According to St. Louis Public Radio, Alderwoman Schweitzer expressed, “The Water Division has been pulling from its reserves to a rate that is not sustainable... We unfortunately have been sort of handed an emergency situation, and that's what we're seeing play out right now.”

The Public Infrastructure and Utilities Committee will examine the measure at their forthcoming meeting on Wednesday.

The proposed increase must be decided by the Board of Aldermen by the end of June. If authorized, the rate increase will go into effect on July 1, the start of the fiscal year.

The last time the Aldermen changed water prices was over 13 years ago. Following the meeting, a few board members said that they had assumed the hike would be opposed by the community since they were used to the current prices.

“While nobody ever wants to go to residents and raise rates, we're at a point where what we've been charging for water hasn't kept up with inflation,” Aldermanic President Megan Green told St. Louis Public Radio.

“We have to be able to make sure we can operate a water department that continues to provide the world-class water that St. Louis is known for.”

This story was originally published by St. Louis Public Radio.

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