Birmingham Water Works considers rate increase for 2022

Local News
Christmas Day
December 25 2021 12:00 am

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Birmingham Water Works is proposing a rate increase of 3.9% for 2022. On Thursday, a public hearing was held at the Birmingham Water Works building in order to provide numbers and receive feedback from the public.

General Manager Michael Johnson says the increase is meant to help maintain the services they provide.

“It just costs money. So, a 3.9% rate increase is something that we, based on the budget, have recommended our board approve,” Johnson said.

But during public comment, several people asked if there was another way to do that rather than increase customers’ rates.

“I’d like to know, did we try? Are we going to try again?” A person asked the board.

A coalition of several organizations such as Greater Birmingham Ministries, Alabama Rivers Alliance, Cahaba River Society, etc. say the rate increase would hurt customers significantly.

“And then, we’re in a pandemic. We haven’t gotten out of it. It’s not done. We’re not done yet,” Rev. Majadi Baruti with Greater Birmingham Ministries said.

But Johnson argues that 39% of residential customers will see a decrease in their water bills from the proposal.

“Our customers want to receive quality water and they want to get it consistently,” Johnson said.

After Wednesday’s hearing, customers hope the board will consider their thoughts on raising the current rate.

“We need to find another way to satisfy these increases other than going to rate payers. Because it’s more than just taxing on them,” a person suggested to the board.

Johnson says they will make a final decision on the water rates on November 17 at 11:30 a.m.

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