AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Monday, city council members unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance to increase water and sewer fees by about seven percent.
“In order to try to be preventative, these rate increases are necessary,” said Aike City Manager Stuart Bedenbaugh.
Customers who use about 800 cubic feet of water a month would see a $2.62 increase. A similar measure failed earlier this month.
Bedenbaugh explained, “Folks that use very little water or are on a fixed income just because of that, depending on how much water they use if they use 200 cubic feet a month, they would see an increase of about $0.94 a month.”
The extra money from the rate increases would go to fund water and sewer-related projects as well as repairs.
“Several years ago, city council commissioned a rate study with in mind some projects that need to be done as well as a new water plant so we are following those recommendations laid out in our rate study,” said Bedenbaugh.
Aiken’s water plant is nearly 70 years old and many say it’s time for an upgrade.
When Mayor Rick Osbon asked for the public’s comment on the sewer and water rate increases during the City Council meeting Monday, no one came to the podium.
Bedenbaugh added, “Council is very sensitive to public comment but again they’re also sensitive to the fact that running a utility system there are costs involved. And those costs tend to increase over time not decrease.”
The ordinance is not set in stone. In the meantime, city leaders will gather more information and compare their rates to other ones in similar municipalities.