Danedri Thompson
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Gardner residents can expect to pay approximately $60 more per year in sewer rates next year.
Laura Gourley, city finance director, told council members scheduled rate increases as well as increases related to the school bond issue and increases related to a joint sewer project with the city of Edgerton will result in an 11 percent rate hike in 2013.
The following year, Gourley estimates rates will need to increase another 7 percent.
Council members authorized a resolution to request a  loan from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to finance the $9 million sewer expansion at Edgerton’s plant. The plant will reduce sewer capacity usage at other Gardner plants eventually saving residents money, Gourley said.
Preliminary estimates suggest the council will need to increase sewer rates 11 percent in 2013, 7 percent in 2014, and then 5 percent in both 2015 and 2016. By 2017, Gourley anticipates a 0 percent increase for Gardner sewer users.
Without expanding Edgerton’s plant, she said city officials anticipated needing to add capacity or build a new facility in Gardner. Those plans would require an 11 percent increase this year, and then 5 percent increases each year in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and beyond.
Gourley said she hesitates to project much further in the future, because much can change between now and then.
“You will be saving money in five years,” she told the council.