Lehigh County Authority OKs budget with water-sewer rate hikes

https://www.mcall.com/news/local/mc-nws-lehigh-county-authority-budget-20191021-224tpenjzfgr5cav7cnoztqxla-story.html

Lehigh County residents can expect a noticeable price increase on their water and sewer bills next year following the Lehigh County Authority’s passage of its budget and spending plan for 2020.

The authority’s board of directors unanimously approved the budget — which includes funding for several new staff positions, maintenance programs and capital projects — at its regular meeting Monday afternoon.

Suburban customers will see a 5.9% increase in their water bills while sewer rates will remain unchanged. Allentown residents will see a rate increase of 4.1% in both their water and sewer bills.

The rate increases fall in line with the agency’s controversial 2020-2024 capital plan, approved by the board in March, which proposes annual water rate increases of 6.9% and an overall sewer rate increase of 22% over a five-year period for suburban customers. The price hikes will help the authority increase revenue as it looks to pay back debts incurred in 2013, when the agency entered into a $211 million lease agreement with Allentown to operate the city’s water and sewer systems through 2062.