Washington council looks at increasing water rates

WASHINGTON — Washington residents could see an increase on water bills, pending a third city council reading.

There will be an increase of 31 cents per cubic feet for residents and 14 cents for non-residents.

Residents will now pay $4.42 and nonresidents will pay $4.25 per 100 cubic feet of water.

The base water charge of $17.85 for residents and $31.50 for nonresidents will not change. The sewer base charge also will not change.

This ordinance change is part of a resolution the council previously passed to increase rates incrementally, and not all at once.

Council member Steven Gault said a resident approached him asking why it is measured in 100 cubic feet and not exact measurements.

100 cubic feet equals 748.052 gallons.

City Administrator Brent Hinson said the meters are set up to read every 100 cubic feet. Hinson said it balances out over time. If 399 cubic feet is used, they will be billed for 300.

Though a citywide automatic reading system would be nice, Hinson said it would be around $800,000.

“It would be a nice feature to have, but a nice feature is not within Washington’s reach in terms of a water system, we just need a working water system,” Hinson said.

At this point, Hinson said the city is more concerned with fixing and preventing water main breaks.

The ordinance passed the first and second reading and is scheduled for a third reading at the next council meeting.