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Birmingham Water Works considering rate increase

Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 10:41 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Something we all dread is increasing expenses. Birmingham’s Water Works is considering increasing your water bill.

The Birmingham Water Works is proposing a 3.9% rate increase for 2022 which will add about a $1.50 to the average customer’s bill. Water works says this is due to a number of factors including operating expenses to keep the utility running as efficiently as possible and to address aging infrastructure like old pipes.

“Water utilities are one of the most capital-intensive businesses or industry that there is and so it just cost money and so a 3.9% rate is something that we based on the budget would recommend that our board approve,” Water Works general manager Michael Johnson said.

Some residents are asking the board to find other ways to increase revenue instead of getting ratepayers to do it. They are tired of seeing their water bills increase.

“We have not only the folks in the community, we have the infrastructure itself which is problematic and we’re thinking that the Birmingham Water Works board could pursue federal funds to work this out,” Rev. Majadi Baruti with Greater Birmingham Ministries said.

Other residents tell they’ll get hit with the 3.9% increase everywhere they go including medical needs.

“Even when I decide to take my car and get it washed, I’m paying that 3.9[%] again. Even at the barbershop. Any place that needs water, they not going to absorb that. They are going to pass that on to me,” Robert Walker, another resident said.

This year, rates did not go up because of the pandemic. Rates have been going up for the past decade.

Johnson says according to their models, we could see water rates continue to increase over the next few years.

Water Works board members are expected to vote on the proposed 3.9% increase at their next meeting on November 17th.

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