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Missouri American Water Holds Public Meeting For Proposed Rate I - KOAM TV 7

Missouri American Water Holds Public Meeting For Proposed Rate Increase

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     It's something we mentioned last night.
     A rate increase has been proposed by Missouri American Water.
     A public hearing detailing things was held this evening in Joplin.
Ron West attended the public hearing to express his concerns.
Ron West, Joplin resident: "Well, being on a fixed income, every utility or everybody that raises their cost, comes off of somewhere."
Officials with Missouri American Water say the biggest reason for this increase is infrastructure.
Christie Barnhart, Missouri American Water: "If you take all of the water main that's in the Joplin system, it will stretch out to St. Louis and back."
Barnhart says what many people don't realize, is the increase isn't designed to pay for future work.
Barnhart: "This increase is mainly devoted to looking at  infrastructure investments that have already been made, because currently, we are only allowed to go in and recover expenses on investments after they're actually in service."
West agrees with those needs.
West: "Infrastructure always needs repair, I mean, things are put in and they're left until they're deteriorated, I believe in replacing things and keeping it up in order not to have breakdowns later on."
But he's concerned about the cost proposal.
West: "I understand everything increases...8% as I said, is pretty high."
Breaking that down, right now, the average customer using about 4,700 gallons pays $33.00 a month.
If the increase is passed as it's currently sitting, that average customer's bill, goes up to around $40.00.
It's an average increase of $6.00 to $12.00 a month depending on water usage.
Barnhart: "What we are proposing is a reduced, a reduction on the fixed rate, and an increase on the volumetric rate, this can be beneficial to customers that would like to have more control over what their water bill is, meaning that, it does give you incentive to conserve, because if you use less water, your water bill will therefore be reduced."
Barnhart says the increase still has to go through several other steps, and may not be at the full rate they're proposing.
     Barnhart tells us if the rates are approved, customers would see the increase around late April or May.

 

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Chris Warner
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A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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