Columbus residents, businesses to see water rates rise

Published 10:00 pm Monday, June 1, 2015

In a special meeting called Tuesday, May 26, Columbus Town Council discussed a change in the water and sewage rate structure which aims to counterbalance a projected loss in revenue when compared to the year prior.

For water, the Town of Columbus currently charges residents $18.32 for the first 3,000 gallons used, and commercial entities $29.69 for the first 5,000. Beyond those initial amounts, Columbus charges $2.67 per 1,000 gallons used.

The proposed change keeps the $2.67 charge up to 10,000 gallons for residents, and then increases to $3.67 per 1,000 gallons consumed beyond that.

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Commercial users will also pay $2.67, per thousand gallons, up to 10,000. They will then be charged $3.67 per thousand gallons up to 100,000, $4.67 per thousand gallons up to 500,000 gallons and $5.67 for each thousand gallons used beyond 500,000 gallons.

Sewage rates, while also being reformatted, follow the same structure.

Town Clerk Devon Gosnell stated that most residential users will be unaffected as most stay well under 10,000 gallons. However, the bulk of businesses utilize amounts in the 10,000-100,000 gallon range.

Gosnell estimated that the average business uses 50,000 gallons per month and in the new rate structure would see a projected $90 increase in their bill.

“I don’t like having to raise rates,” replied Town Manager Timothy Barth when asked by Councilman Josh Denton if he was comfortable with the new structure. “I don’t believe it’s right, but I don’t perceive us having any choice.”

Columbus Town Council will meet again June 18 at 6 p.m. If accepted, the new water and sewage rates will go into effect July 1.