Water, sewer revenues rise modestly after rate increase

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Halfway through the year, Troy is seeing a modest increase in revenue from increased water and sewer rates.

The city council approved the increase in charges in October 2018, taking effect in January of this year. The rates will continue to increase in 2020 and 2021.

Mayor Jason Reeves said the main increase was an extra $2 per month added to the sewer rate, which 5,100 residents in Troy pay.

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“That’s an extra $10,200 per month in revenue across the whole system,” Reeves said. “That’s about $51,000 through May.”

The water revenue is more difficult to calculate Reeves said, due to differences in revenue. Water revenues are mostly consistent through the same period last year, Reeves said, but usage has not been as high as the same point last year, which means there are also less expenses.

The base water rate did not actually increase – instead, the city reduced the gallons of water included in the base price of $10 from 3,000 gallons to 2,000 gallons. That will be reduced again next year to 1,000 gallons and then again in 2021 to nothing.

Customers are charged $1.25 for each 1,000 gallons of water used, so residents currently using 3,000 gallons or more in a month would see that $1.25 increase. The average water usage in Troy is 4,600 gallons per month, Reeves said, so this would affect most customers.

Reeves said there are a lot of variables to how many gallons customers used, including the possibility that generous rainfall in the spring may have meant people did less watering of their lawns.

Once the rate increases are completed in 2021, Reeves said water and sewer customers could expect to see a water bill of $9.75 more each month, while water-only customers would pay $6 more per month.

“What we realized when we looked at this a few years ago was that the electricity rates were subsidizing the water and sewer revenues,” Reeves said. “This was what Jackson Thornton recommended to make up that shortfall. Even when the full increases take effect, it will be about $1 less per month for 10,000 gallons of water in Troy than it is in Dothan.”

Sarah Chandler of Jackson Thornton showed the council in 2018 that the city actually didn’t bring in enough revenue to cover expenses for water service last year, falling just over $303,000 short of the necessary $3.9 million in revenue.