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MSD delays vote on rate increase

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By Tom Weber, KWMU

St. Louis, Mo. – The board that runs the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District is postponing tomorrow's (Thursday's) vote on a rate increase.

The rate hike has been in the works for months and will call for customers to pay about 64% more over the next four years. The proposal also includes a new way of charging customers by depending in part on how much water run-off each property creates. (properties with parking lots, for example, would be charged more than properties with green space)

Spokesman Lance LeComb says MSD agreed to delay the vote after a number of groups and elected officials voiced worries in recent days about the hikes.

"We are going to have to go forward with the rate changes at some point, there's no question about that," LeComb said. "The work we're doing is regulatory-driven. It's not a question of if the work's going to get done; it's a question of how quickly."

One issue has been whether borrowing money - by selling bonds - might make the rate hike smaller. But LeComb says MSD opted against bonds because the utility wanted to save them as an option for future projects that they expect will be ordered by various regulatory bodies.

Still, LeComb says MSD will meet with those who raised issue the hike.

"There may be a viewpoint that really is justified and has merit that we need to take into consideration," he said. "And of course we'll find a way to act on that."

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