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Report: All Indiana Counties Have Wastewater Infrastructure Needs

Faucet

A new state report finds all 92 Indiana counties have significant water and wastewater infrastructure needs. The Indiana Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations estimates Indiana will need around $16 billion in the next 20 years for infrastructure maintenance and upgrades.

However, Report Author Jamie Palmer says local governments are not on track to cover that.

“It’s not going to work if utilities keep their rates artificially low,” says Palmer.

Palmer says she understands officials may be hesitant to raise rates, but found that’s the best approach for maintaining infrastructure.

The statewide funding gap is an estimated $7 billion. Five counties need updates over $1 billion, like Lake County, where Lake Station City Councilman Rick Long says his city can’t afford to run the utility and may sell it to a private company.

“When your operating costs continue to grow, and your revenues and your collections continue to go down, you are going to have a shortfall in your budget,” Long says.

Long points to the statewide tax cap voters approved in 2010, which limits the amount of revenue counties can collect from property taxes.

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