JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — On Tuesday, Jackson County commissioners will review a resolution to significantly increase water rates.
Jackson County administrators said water rates have stayed the same since 2017, but with costs rising they said it’s imperative to raise the price of water.
“In order to provide a safe, reliable service to the citizens of the county, it has come to the point where we have to adjust the rates,” Jackson County Commissioner Jim Peacock said.
Minimum monthly water charges for residents will rise from $9 to $15. It will then continue to increase by $1 each year for the next two years. Service price for every 1,000 gallons used will also increase each year.
Commercial customers will see even higher increases. Minimum monthly charges could more than double from $29 to $60.
Service charges for every 1,000 gallons of water will rise by around 25% over the next three years.
“We did put a little bit bigger burden on those commercial operations to help fund the system,” Jackson County Deputy Administrator Rett Daniels said. “And then also, once we got to the point where we were having more residential customers come online, that would put less of a burden on our residential customers.”
Daniels commented that ideally, rates would not rise so drastically, instead experiencing steady increases year to year. However, county officials have chosen not to raise rates for six-year years.
Peacock isn’t sure why.
“That’s a very good question and I do not know the answer,” Peacock said.
Daniels said the rise in rates is due to an increase in service, personnel, and equipment costs. He stated that water rates have risen from $100,000 to $400,000 a year with wide fluctuation in cost.
Peacock said the system must be addressed.
“The water and sewer system is losing money,” Peacock said. “And as a result, we’re having to subsidize it out of general revenue, which simply means the people who are on the system receive a benefit from people all over the county who are paying taxes. So we’re trying to balance things out.”
Daniels hopes new rates generate an additional $200,000 to $300,000 annually.
If the resolution is passed, Peacock expects it to go into effect on May 1.