TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka City council resumed discussion of a proposal that could increase resident’s water bills.

That proposed increase would be about 10% — and Topeka households would see their bills go up each year through 2026. Topeka currently has $70 million worth of water lines in need of repair or replacement.

Inflation is one of the reasons the city says the increase is needed. Operating costs for water are expected to increase by as much as 30% in the coming years. The rate of water main breaks have increased every year over the last three years, with over 500 breaks so far in 2022.

The discussion on this issue lasted over 40 minutes at Tuesday’s meeting, and people on both sides shared their thoughts.

“My biggest thing is we cannot push the replacement of water lines to the future,” said Councilman Brett Kell. “We need to keep on replacing those or else we’re going to keep get water main breaks.”

“I think our council is sitting with a very strategic question,” said Topeka resident Sandra Lassiter. “We need to show some mercy, and at some point, maybe get some moneys from another venue, another avenue.”

There will be two public meetings about the utility rate proposal coming up. The first will be held on Wed. Dec. 28th from 6-7pm at the Holiday Building. The second public meeting will be held on Wed. Jan. 4th from 12 – 1 P.M. The vote on the proposal is slated for January 10th at the City Council Meeting.