COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Water customers in Columbus are seeing changes to their water bills with the start of 2020. Columbus Water Works updated the set flat fee based on meter sizes this year.
Columbus Water Works officials say they updated the water base cost this year to be more in line with industry standards across the state depending on the meter size.
Columbus Water Works Senior Vice President Vic Burchfield says the average customer is seeing their bill will increase by about $1.67 a month.
“There are also other customers that are on larger meters that may see an increase that is greater than that because the base charges are based on the meter size," Burchfield said.
It’s typically businesses and larger commercial establishments that have larger meters leading to more of an impact on their water bill, but some residential customers are also seeing more of an increase than the average customer.
“You can also have a larger meter if you have an irrigation meter on your home," Birchfield said.
Sharon Bunn says she understands bills fluctuating a few dollars, but says she paid a $500 flat fee in 1981 for a separate sprinkler meter.
“We had these sprinkler meters in the ground for 60 years almost. Some people had it longer than that. That bothers me when they double the price on the meter and then charge us for the usage," Bunn said.
Bunns’s water bill went up by $5.64 from December 2019 to January 2020. But she says she’s concerned for other’s, like her sister who relies on an irrigation system, whose bills have more than doubled.
The amount of water usage (CCF) was zero on all of these bills.
“When it goes up from $10 to 25, well 24 might as well be say $25, that bothers me for some of the senior citizens. Some of them got 2 inches up in north Columbus and I’m sure that they are paying a lot more for that two inch meter," Bunn explained.
Bunn has about 40 signatures on a petition she started last week. She is scheduled to appear on the public agenda at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.
According to Columbus Water Works’ presentation they gave at City Council last fall concerning the changes, the new water base charges in effect are similar to other comparable Georgia cities like Augusta and Savannah.