SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — Sioux City Council members have given final approval to a plan raising local sewer rates as of July 1 but the debate appears far from over.

The plan to raise residential, commercial and industrial rates has been on and off the council’s agenda for weeks.

On Monday, after weeks of being moved on and off the Sioux City City Council’s agenda, and a 4-0 vote, members approved the final reading moving the ordinance forward.

The rate hike industrial users face has drawn the most intense debate. Beginning July 1 those customers will incur a 5% increase with additional hikes of 25%, 20%, 20% and 8.5% over the next 4 years.

“The right thing to do for our community, and each one of you knows this, is to take a deep breath and to make sure we have agreement and consensus. The (Iowa Department of Natural Resources) and the (Environmental Protection Agency) are not your constituents, they’re our concern they are not our constituent and they’re not paying the half a billion dollars,” said Chris McGowan, president of the Siouxland chamber of commerce

Council members said the revenue generated from the rate increase will allow the city to renovate and upgrade it’s 50-year-old wastewater treatment plant which is already pushed past its capacity.

Although the council opted not to delay a final reading as McGowan requested Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Moore said the concerns of industrial customers did not fall on deaf ears.

“We have heard them, we are responding to them. It got a little bit confusing with the discussion of a working group, which I am all in favor of having a working group of industrial users, the consultant, and our staff at city hall,” Moore said.

Moore went so far as to say that if that group finds a way to lower the user rates he would bring the issue back before the council.

Also today, the council approved a contract for the Cone Park natural surface trail project. The project will include new shared-use trails, highly optimized bike-only trails, and mountain bike amenities.