For months, sewer customers in Jefferson County have been expecting a rate increase. Now, a new proposal would have the majority of customers paying about two dollars more per month.
For Jefferson County commission president David Carrington, getting the county out of bankruptcy is top priority.
The proposed changes to sewer rates he says, would be a step in the right direction.
"Our plan of adjustment to bankruptcy court will be based upon this rate structure if approved by the commission next Tuesday or after next Tuesday and then, we'll go forward," says Carrington. "At first glance it seems to be fair, equitable, it seems to be feasible and non-discriminatory."The new rates would generate $8.3 million. The money would go toward getting the county out of bankruptcy.
Eric Rothstein, a municipal utility financial planning expert sees his proposed rate structure as leveling the playing field for residential customers in Jefferson County.
Under the proposed plan, two thirds of Jefferson County water users would pay on average two dollars more per month.
"It provides a strong foundation for the county on a going forward basis," says Rothstein. "It corrects the fundamental flaws in the existing rate structure, and it provides for a fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory mechanism for charging for sewer service."
Jefferson County has not seen a sewer rate increase since 2008. If approved, the restructured rates would take effect in March 2013.