Russell raising water rates

RUSSELL, Kansas – The continuing drought means major changes for Russell.

It has banned all outdoor watering and now the city says it is going to have to raise its rates.

“I want to praise the community for conserving so much water, I don’t want to slap them on the hand,” says City Council Member Michelle Wagner.

The last time the City of Russell raised it’s water rates was eight years ago, but now, the extreme drought is forcing the city to raise rates for the next three years.

“I think overall it’s probably a good idea, the way our water situation is, it’s probably good that people are more conscious about conserving the water that we do have,” said Julie Vonfeldt a Russell Resident.

The rate will gradually increase over the next three years, starting at $22.50 a month and going up to $27 in 2016.

“I hope that they’re looking at a long range solution, to the problem and if it’s necessary to pay more well then I guess it’s necessary,” said Jim Alexander who lives in Russell.

The city hasn’t raised its water rates since 2006 and with people collecting rain in barrels they’re hoping that this increase will help them find a new water resource.

“People have asked, you know they want us to figure out water issues and so that’s what we’re trying to do and better our water chances, then why don’t we as a community,” says Wagner.

While not everyone is on board with the rate hike, some people think it will help conserve even more water

“From behind closed doors and behind fences, maybe it’ll keep people from watering when they don’t need to,” said Vonfeldt.

The rate increases will start in June.

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