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story.lead_photo.caption The Holts Summit Board of Aldermen will vote July 7 on the sewer rate increase.

HOLTS SUMMIT — Holts Summit held a public hearing Tuesday to discuss an upcoming sewer rate increase.

The Holts Summit Board of Aldermen will vote on the issue July 7. If approved, sewer rates will increase by $1.50 per 1,000-gallon usage Aug. 1. In April, the rates will increase an additional $1.50.

When first announced last month, the increase sparked several discussions on Facebook from residents confused about the change.

"When we first sent out the press release on social media, there were a lot of people that were upset," City Administrator Hanna Lechner said.

In response, the city posted an explanation outlining the reason for the increase.

On Tuesday, Lechner said only one member of the community came out to learn more. Members of the Board of Aldermen and representatives from All States Engineering Consultants were on hand to explain the project's history.

"I think it went good," Lechner said.

The city has been trying to update its nearly 50-year-old wastewater treatment plant since 2011, when Holts Summit voters passed a bond issue supporting the project.

A series of delays and setbacks mean the project costs have grown to $8 million. To pay to connect Holts Summit to the Jefferson City system and connect unsewered homes, the city has secured a substantial $7 million loan from the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

But the USDA is requiring Holts Summit to raise its rates.

"In order for us to do this project (the rate increase) has to happen," Lechner said. "It is not something that we want to happen; it's something that has to happen."

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