After listening to public feedback, the City Utilities department changed its request -- reducing the increase and spreading it out over more years.
What this means is as of right now, there are no planned changes to water rates for next year.
The City Council will look at the amended request this week, and could approve the rate increase at the next meeting.
The Fort Wayne City Council did not vote on City Utilities' request to increase water rates tonight.
After listening to public feedback, City Utilities changed its proposal to three years, rather than two.
"From the time that we started talking about the rate changes, we saw a lot of people say, 40 percent is a lot of money. But then, from the moment we started talking about what the impact is per family, which is four dollars the first year, and three dollars the next year, the realized the impact wasn't as bad as they thought it was. Then when we said we were going to spread it out over three years, they said, that's a lot more tolerable," says City Utilities Director Kumar Menon.
Originally proposed as a 40% rate increase in each of the next two years--the new three-year plan has a 2013 increase of nearly 40%-- dropping to around 20% the next two years.
They say the gradual increase is easier on Fort Wayne residents pocketbooks, and still brings in an additional $7 each month.
City Utilities officials say the increase is necessary to keep up with basic maintenance of the city's water mains.
Nearly every public comment from tonight's meeting supported the increase.
"They know we have to improve our water mains and things like that. The debate comes down to how much over what period of time," says City Council President Tom Smith.
City Utilities will now submit the amended paperwork to the City Council-- who could vote next week.
Menon said any further delay could push back any rate increase up to a year.
Utility companies in Indiana have to get approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, which can take 9 to 12 months.