The Wichita City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve water and sewer rate increases effective next year.
On January 1, Wichita's residential customers will see their monthly bills increase $1.19 to $7.74 depending on how much water they use. Commercial and industrial customers will see a rate hike of around 7 percent.
Alan King, Director of Public Works and Utilities says the water rates will insure a level of funding for proper renewal and replacement of aging water mains.
"These rates will fund important infrastructure and position utilities to support long term growth in our community," he said.
Before the vote, Council members LaVonta Williams, Michael O'Donnell and James Clendenin expressed concern for residents who are struggling to pay utility bills.
City Manager Bob Layton says he'd have staff look into it.
"We will look at other assistance programs and see if we can't put some guidelines together for a water and sewer utility assistance program here at the City of Wichita," said Layton.
"I can't promise that ultimately we'll be able to get there but we surely will look at best practices, will look at what other private utilities are doing as well in order to see if we can't address that issue."
The rate setting process began in February with an advisory committee making recommendations along with several community groups providing input. K
ing says the new rates will mean a 5 percent increase in the water fund. He says Wichita's water rates will continue to be lower than the national average.