Shelby County water rate increase to be focus of public hearing

Published 9:21 am Tuesday, January 28, 2014


COLUMBIANA — The Shelby County Water System Jan. 27 presented proposed water rate increases that would be phased in over a five-year period.

A public hearing has been set for Feb. 10 at 8:30 a.m., during the Shelby County Commission’s next regular meeting, for residents to voice questions and concerns about the proposed changes.  The hearing will be held at the Shelby County Administration Building at 200 W. College St., in Columbiana.

According to a cost of service study conducted by Montgomery-based Jackson Thornton Utilities Consultants, water customers currently pay an average of $20.48 per month for a minimum of 3,000 gallons. If the rate increases are approved, water customers will pay an average of $20.68 per month beginning in April 2014. By April 2018, water customers will pay an average of $21.52 per month.

The rate increase will make the water system more self-sufficient, officials say, adding that the gradual increase is more palatable to the public at large as opposed to a larger one-time increase.  Officials also say the rate increase is the first step in the county’s effort to shift away from using its general fund to subsidize the water system.