Oxford may increase water, sewer rates

Oxford StockThe Associated Press

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Oxford officials say water and sewer rates may rise by 5 percent in 2014 to pay for upgrades and increases in system capacity.

City Engineer Bart Robinson tells the Oxford Eagle (http://bit.ly/p2p8XY ) that for a household using 4,000 gallons a month, the monthly bill would increase by about $1.50.

“Minimal users, who are mostly condo owners and people who aren’t here year-round, pay $15 a month for less than 2,000 gallons used,” Robinson said. “Their bill will go up 75 cents.”

Robinson said for those whose bill is about $40 to $45 a month, they can expect about a $2 increase.

The board of aldermen will need to amend the local ordinance for the increase and hold a public hearing. The city also will also have to get approval from the Public Service Commission.

“It’s a straight-forward project, but it’s a lengthy process,” Robinson said. “Optimistically, I’d like to see the raise in effect by mid-January.”

Robinson said a new water plant is a $1.5 million project and another water tank for the east side of town will cost up to $2 million.

The biggest project is the replacement of a seven-mile sewer line to the wastewater treatment plant.

“It was put in in 1973,” Robinson said. “Typically sewer lines have a 30-year life span so we got good use out of it. But after years of sewer gases going through, it now needs to be replaced.”

It will cost about $15 million.

Robinson said the last increase for water and sewer bills was in 2010 for city customers. Those in the Lafayette County saw a small raise in 2011 when the city took over the former Bell Utilities’ system.

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Information from: Oxford Eagle, http://www.oxfordeagle.com