Sebree water customers will soon see a water rate increase as the city makes adjustments to make way for a sewer rehabilitation project that has been mandated by the state division of water.

Public works director Emry Thomas told the council on Monday that the city has a major problem with rain water infiltrating the city's sewage system. He said that some of the problem comes from old clay lines in areas that handle heavy amounts of run-off and flood water, while some is also caused by natural springs in the area around Sebree Springs Park.

"When I started working for the city, we were still getting some of our drinking water from the park," Thomas said. "When we stopped taking the water out of the springs, the springs started coming to the surface. In several areas they now come up out of the ground."

The project to rehab the sewage system is estimated to cost around $1.8 million dollars. Of that, the city is looking to get $910,000 from a Community Block Grant, which requires them to match the grant dollar for dollar. In order to do so, the city is going to take out a Kentucky Infrastructure Administration (KIA) loan in the same amount.

"We have to have a rate increase to secure the loan," said Mayor Ozzie O'Nan. "I wasn't wanting to cross this bridge this soon, but when the state is on your back, you have to get something done."

City officials say that water customers can expect an average $6 or $7 raise per household with the increase, which raises the flat 2,000 gallon rate by $1.36 per 1,000 gallons.

In other business, O'Nan introduced Ben Leonard as Sebree's new city attorney. He replaces Dorin Luck, who retired Dec. 31. Luck has been the city attorney for 22 years.

"Dorin did a very good job and we were fortunate to have him," he said. "I've known Ben Leonard for quite a while, and is very experienced in working with city governments."

Leonard also serves as the city attorney for Clay, Dixon, Providence and Slaughters in Webster County, as well as for a few cities outside the county.

Reach MATT HUGHES at 270-667-2068 or matt@journalenterprise.com.