COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Senior Vice President of Columbus Water Works Vic Burchfield says customers will be paying more for their water to start the new year. This comes after the Board of Water Commissioners approved a proposal by Columbus Water Works in mid-December.
“From here on out they will be seeing that increase since the first of January. There are several reasons for the rate increase: one is the lower than expected revenue because of the wet summer that we had this past summer and then we have capital projects where we reinvest in the infrastructure,” says Burchfield
He says the capital projects have to continue to be funded to make sure there’s proper maintenance of sewer lines, pipes and water plants.
The average Columbus resident will see an increase of around $2.34 per month on their bill. This will total to around $32.55 a year. The average customer uses 3,000 gallons per month.
Customers say it’s not the first time they’ve seen their water bill raised, but one customer says it’s surprising to see it happen again. He says he believes the increase could do more harm than good.
“It seems like every time we turn around something is going up whether it’s light bill, water bill or gas bill,” says customer Stanley David. “They need to get together and figure out a plan, so the water bills can go down instead of up.”
Some customers say they understand the need for infrastructure work. Burchfield says even with the rate increase, the rates in Columbus are still lower than Savannah, Macon, Augusta and Atlanta.
He says they’re also wanting to make sure everyone knows that while the rates are increasing, there’s also an increase on tax credits for those with low income.
“That credit has been increased from $4.50 up to $7.50 so that’s a three dollar increase for those that qualify for that low-income credit,” says Burchfield.
He says anyone who wishes to apply for the tax credit should contact the City Services Center and apply for the low-income garbage credit. He says those who qualify for that credit automatically qualify for the $7.50 credit offered through the Water Works Affordability Program.