Approved: Benton Utilities will increase customer rates to keep up with project costs

Monday night, the Benton city council voted to approve a 12% rate increase for Benton Utilities customers. (Photo: KATV)

Monday night, Benton city council members voted to approve a rate increase for Benton Utilities customers.

The increase is 12%, or roughly $11 each month for customers.

Council members also approved an ordinance to let voters decide whether or not to issue bonds in the amount of $8.7 million.

Last month, the general manager for Benton Utilities told city leaders every year the department is getting $2 million behind in infrastructure costs. Without raising rates and getting additional funds, they wouldn't be able to finish major projects.

Channel 7 got a look at the list of unfinished projects.

The expansion of I-30 is at the top of that list, which costs over $2.8 million.

"Fixing the I-30 from highway 70 to exit 116 and moving the utilities out of the new expanded right-of-way is something we have to do," said Benton Mayor David Mattingly.

The rate increase will take effect at the end of January 2018.