Water treatment proposal could mean rate hike


An aging Decatur water plant and two recent droughts has the city considering upgrading its water system and it could mean more money out of customers' pockets.

Nothing is official yet but with this proposal from the Department of Water Management customers could be looking at bills that have just about doubled after a three year increase.

An outdated water system, water shortages during extreme droughts and a water fund losing money are all problems that could be fixed should the city council approve this new proposal.

"We've experienced in the last three years out of six dry conditions and drought conditions," said Keith Alexander Director of Water Management. "We've had to implement the most severe water restrictions we've ever had to, uh, implement to our customers last year and we certainly don't want to go through that again."

With these improvements, customers could be facing water rate hikes.

"Our average residential water customer pays approximately $26 per month for water service. After these increases, the rates would be in the mid $50 range after the three year increase," Alexander said.

A bill that would be paid on a monthly, not quarterly basis.

"Well obviously we are proposing a very large or high priced water rate adjustment but as all of our customers know we don't want to go through the drought scenario last year where we literally had to tell customers and businesses to shut down. People lost their jobs while we had a drought," Alexander said.

He added he wants to continue to focus on water conservation methods so customers can save water and money.

This is an initial proposal so it will be presented to the council Monday.  A vote will not be taken right away.

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