BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham Water Works invited customers to attend a town hall meeting Tuesday evening at the Birmingham Crossplex.

Members of the Birmingham Water Works board informed their customers about their 2024 budget which includes a proposed 5.8% water rate increase. With this proposed increase, the average customer will see a $2.76 increase in their monthly bill.

At Tuesday’s town hall meeting, topics ranged from sewage pipeline replacement to the price of bills. One topic in particular on the minds of many was the proposed rate increase.

“I am not for another water increase,” said Susan Palmer, a Birmingham Water Works customer.

Susan Palmer said the $2.76 increase won’t only affect her financially but also many others who can’t even afford their current bill.

“Everything is going up, but our money is decreasing,” Palmer said. “So, it’s going to put you in a hardship, so what do we do? What assistance are we going to be able to get for our water or for our sewer bill?”

According to Birmingham Water Works, they are investing $25 million in pipe replacement with the 2024 budget. The money for the proposed increase will be invested in making improvements.

“That funds us replacing old pipes, keeping up with our infrastructure,” Rick Jackson, the PR manager with Birmingham Water Works, said. “Just making sure that we are having a strong water system.”

Jackson said they understand the frustration and they want people to keep in mind that it is a proposal, and it has not been approved.

“We really try to be very prudent with the rate payer’s money and so after all of those discussions that we’ve had for several months this is the proposed rate increase that we have with this new budget,” said Jackson.

The board is set to have a public hearing on Nov. 6. The budget approval is set for Nov. 15.

Birmingham Water Works has options for people to receive financial assistance if this increase is approved, such as the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Another town hall meeting is scheduled for Thursday at Aldridge Gardens in Hoover at 5:30 p.m.