ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- In less than a month, residents in St. Louis City and County will see a hike in fees for the Metropolitan Sewer District.
A vote on Proposition Y on Tuesday will determine the amount of the increase.
During heavy rains, the Metropolitan Sewer District’s system gets overwhelmed. Storm water gets mixed with raw sewage, sending billions of gallons of human waste into the Mississippi River. Proposition Y is designed to address the problem.
According to Missouri Coalition for the Environment, the lake at Brentwood Forest is one of more than 300 spots where raw sewage is illegally dumped into area waterways.
Sewer overflows and basement backups are becoming more prominent in the St. Louis area. MSD is now legally required to make massive repairs, starting with a $945 million bond proposal.
“It’s a commitment that’s 40 years overdue, and so it’s time we make that investment,” Kathleen Logan Smith, executive director of the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, said.
Through Proposition Y, voters will choose the rate of increase by determining whether or not the MSD can use bonds. A “yes” vote will allow MSD to use bonds, and sewer bills will climb from the current rate of $28 a month to $43 a month by 2015. By 2020, the bill will rise to $80 a month because of interest charges on those bonds. A “no” vote on Proposition Y increases sewer bills to $64 this July 1, but holds steady, which is less of a cost to consumers in the long run.
“It’s the monthly bills that seem to hit people’s budgets the hardest, and so what the bond issue will do will help ease the pain,” Logan Smith said. “Your monthly bills will not be dramatically increased very quickly.”
Logan Smith’s group is advocating for a “yes” vote on Prop Y, saying that it is especially crucial to help resident on fixed incomes.
Polls are open Tuesday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Click here to learn more about the proposistion.