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City of Lawrence says increased water bills aren't a mistake — it was approved back in 2017

Posted at 11:03 PM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 06:34:46-05

LAWRENCE — Lawrence residents have been complaining on social media about an increase in their water bills that began this year.

Scott Salsbery, City of Lawrence Utilities Superintendent, says he's aware of the complaints, but thinks it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone.

"We put that information in our newsletter that goes out with bills," Salsbery said. "Matter of fact, I'll be sending out a reminder that'll go out with the March bill."

In addition to looking at the newsletter, Salesberry says residents should download the EyeOnWater app which will alert you when you're using more water than normal.

Salsbery says increases were passed back in 2017, phased in three times over four years: 2017, 2019, & 2020. The increases have allowed them to make necessary infrastructure improvements including their new multi-million dollar water treatment facility.

"We've already spent 8.5 million dollars on water system improvements," Salsbery said. " New plant, taking care of some of our storage tanks, water main replacement and some well field improvements."

Salsbery says he know water bill increases are tough, but it's something that has to be done.

"You can't keep putting band aids on things, eventually you have to replace it," Salesberry said. "It's a hard bullet to bite, but you have to do it."

Salsbery says with how he's running the plant now, he doesn't anticipate there will be any other substantial rate increases for quite some time.

"We have that capital money coming in so we'll be rolling out projects on an annual basis to start slowly replacing all these old 60, 70-year-old water mains here," Salesberry said.

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