August 9, 2007

City Implements Second Phase of Water, Sewer Rate Increases

Rain has been hard to come by this summer, but the drought has nothing to do with the rising cost of water in the City of Memphis. On August 2, the Memphis Board of Alderman voted 3-0 to implement the second phase of the proposed rate increase for water and sewer services.

The move did meet with some opposition, as Mayor Roger Gosney voiced his concerns about the escalating cost of utilities.

I know the costs for just about everything are going up, Gosney said. But enough is enough for one year. We raised the rates once, I dont think we need to do it again the second time around.

Alderman James Parker pointed out that Bill No. 07-10 was really just a formality.

Its my understanding this is just the final part of the rate hike the council previously agreed on, he said.

The council had enacted new water rates back in June. That hike was proposed to bring the rate into accordance with growing costs since the price had not been reviewed for several years.

The increase approved at the August meeting represents the annual cost-of-living increase the council has pledged to review at least annually to insure the rates keep pace with the costs of providing the service. It was enacted at the August meeting as the city prepares to start a new fiscal year.

The water rate went from $.459 to 0.482 per 100 gallons used beyond the 1,000 gallon minimum (which costs $19). The rate hike approved in August will send the rate up to $0.506 cents per 100 gallons.

For the average customer that uses 3,000 gallons per month they will see an increase of 48 cents on the monthly bill for water.

Sewer rates received a similar rate structure increase. The cost will go from $0.173 per 100 gallons of water to $0.182. The minimum charge for the first 1,000 gallons is $5.

The average customer that uses 3,000 gallons of water will see their sewer bill increase 18 cents per month.

I think there is a misconception that the city is raising utility rates just because it can, stated alderman Chris Feeney. The cost of providing these services is going up, so the city needs to pass those costs on to its customers.

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