HAMMOND – The town of Hammond is closing in on finalizing a settlement agreement with five communities in northwest Indiana that sued the town in November, opposing the newly approved water rate hikes.
Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. spoke about the ordinance, which, if approved, would change wholesale rates for communities in Indiana, at a Hammond city council meeting last week.
The order, McDermott said, is based on a settlement agreement the city has reached with the towns of Highland, Munster, Griffith, Dyer and the town of Whiting, and is expected to end the pending lawsuit.
In November, city council voted 9-0 to increase Hammond residents’ water bills from 44 cents to $ 1.90 per 1,000 gallons effective Jan. 1.
The price hike, which also applied to wholesale customers, was quickly criticized by officials at Highland, Munster, Griffith, Dyer and Whiting. They argued that the sudden and automatic triggering of rate hikes for these towns and cities was “discriminatory, unreasonable and unfair under Indiana law,” and was followed by legal action.
The bylaw, once approved, will establish a wholesale water tariff with these communities.
Under the plan, communities will pay nearly double what they currently pay, 95 cents, which is lower than the new rate of $ 1.90 for residents of Hammond.