Helena increases water, sewer rates

Effective this month, utility rates in the city of Helena will inch up a few dollars.

The Helena Utility Board voted in late March to increase the minimum rate on water and sewer service. Helena Mayor Sonny Penhale said the hike comes down to one need.

&8220;Money. The price on everything else is going up,&8221; Penhale said. &8220;We just can&8217;t absorb these increases in labor and other expenses.&8221;

Residential bills will increase from $6 to $10 for water and from $8 to $15.50 for sewer. Churches and schools will pay $9.62 instead of the $5.77 before. They will continue to not pay taxes on those charges.

Commercial water and sewer service costs won&8217;t be higher.

City officials said surrounding cities still pay more than Helena does. Pelham residential water service costs $13 before tax, while Alabaster residents pay $11.70 before tax.

The city recently posted several other announcements regarding utilities on its Web site.

-The site reminds residents that it does not take ALAGASCO payments and that the Utility Board does not send out cut-off notices on past due accounts.

-Also, water service can be cut off after two months worth of payments are missed. A collection fee of $25 will be charged to collect the past due bill and, if service is disconnected, a $30 re-connection fee will be charged