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Utility district sets Dec. 13 rate hearing

 

The LaGrange County Regional Utility District will be holding a rate hearing on Thursday, Dec. 13, to allow for public comments concerning changes being made to the district’s rate ordinance.

The hearing is tentatively set for 5 p.m. The district is asking the Lakeland School District to hold the hearing at the high school auditorium.

The district is making changes to the rate ordinance for all of the service areas, although only one service area, Fish-Stone Lake, is expected to see a rate increase. The Fish-Stone Lake increase is due to an increase in rates from White Pigeon, Mich., which is working on system upgrades and expansion.

The Shipshewana West and Region B service areas will see a change in the ordinance to allow flat rate billing for youth camps on a per bed basis. Regions A, B, Fish-Stone Lake and Fish-Royer Lake areas will also see an addition to the ordinance that caps connection fees at the 15-year levels.

The district will be sending a notice of the hearing to all system users that will also include a new flat rate billing explanation. The notice is now required by law to be sent to any user who is affected by the change to a flat rate billing and the district board decided to send the explanation to all district service users.

The board also authorized its legal counsel, John Gastineau, to set up a “district authority.” The authority is needed in cases where a rate is increasing by more than 5 percent and allows for users to appeal to the authority. Because the district has customers in LaGrange, Steuben and Elkhart counties, the board agreed to have a commissioner from each county serve on the district authority to hear any appeals that may arise.