Wichita City Council members may decide they have no choice but to hold their noses and vote Tuesday to raise water and sewer rates for 2015. Rate increases, which have been the rule every year since 1997, have been forecast as necessary long term to keep up with the water utility’s costital projects for regulatory compliance and infrastructure repairs. The 6 percent water hike and 5 percent sewer hike proposed for 2015 won’t help with the much bigger problem voters gave City Hall last month, when they defeated the 1 percent citywide sales tax to fund a long-term water supply. But at least either of the two options on the council agenda will bring more fairness to the rate structure, which has been making residential users subsidize commercial and industrial water use. Meanwhile, citizens can keep telling themselves that Wichita’s 2013 water rates ranked 11th lowest among the nation’s 50 largest cities. – Rhonda Holman
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