Late last year, the Town of Santa Claus was notified of a rate increase from Patoka Lake Water District.
While the town owns and operates its own wells, about two-thirds of the water used by Santa Claus Water Utility comes from Patoka Lake.
The Water Board commissioned a rate study by LWG CPAs & Advisors from Indianapolis to determine what affect this might have on the future operations of the town’s water plant. Their report was received in February and it recommended an increase in water rates to account for past inflation and the new rates from Patoka Lake. Their recommendation was either a 23.45% or 31.07% increase. This amount was determined based on the Patoka Lake increase, a need to bring operating reserves to the state required levels and inflation.
The town’s last rate increase was in 2009 and in that period of time, the Consumer Price Index rose roughly 20%.
On Friday, March 1st, the Town Council held a public hearing based on a recommendation from the Water Board on the proposed increase of 23.45%. Hearing no objections, the Town Council approved Ordinance 2019-04.
At the meeting it was stated that this increase affects various users differently, but for the average customer using 3,447 gallons per month the rate increase would be approximately $5.00 per month. It was further pointed out that this increase does not affect the wastewater charges since that charge it is based on the amount of water used, not the price of the water.
The Water Board has acted in good faith to ensure that the water utility will remain an economically viable entity into the future and continue to provide quality water to its customers.