MERRILLVILLE | Monthly sewer rates for Independence Hill Conservancy District customers could be changing.
Jim Beshears, chairman of Independence Hill's board of directors, said the board has been examining the issue but there have been no determinations about how much rates would change.
Beshears said there are two rates for customers in the Independence Hill service area, and the board wants to create one "equalized rate."
The sewer district's coverage area includes most of the southwest portion of Merrillville.
Beshears said some residents in the district are paying an $11 monthly rate. Those in an area formerly served by Lincoln Utilities are paying a $21.74 fee, he said.
The $21.74 rate was approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in 1990, months before Independence Hill took over operations of Lincoln Utilities.
Beshears said that rate has continued to be in place because of the many improvements that were needed after Independence Hill assumed control of Lincoln Utilities.
He said several sewer lines in that portion of the district were made of "orange peels and tar."
"Over the years, we've done a ton of improvements to the Lincoln area," Beshears said.
Sewer projects have included a lateral replacement program, he said.
"We're at the point where we fixed everything we can fix" in the former Lincoln Utilities area, Beshears said.
Keeping the $21.74 rate in place wouldn't be fair for those customers, he said.
While the $21.74 rate could be reduced, the $11 rate could go up to create the new equalized fee, Beshears said.
The Independence Hill board is planning to discuss the matter during its October meeting, Beshears said.
After a proposed rate is established, it will be available for public review. Independence Hill customers also will have an opportunity to comment about the proposed changes.