COVINGTON -- The Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority is increasing rates, effective July 1.
The average customer will see an increase of less than $1.50 per month, according to a press release issued by the Authority. A household using an average of 5,000 gallons of water per month will see an increase of $1.43 per month. Water and sewer customers using the same amount will see an increase of $3.79 per month. This is the third rate increase in as many years.
The Authority has implemented a process to increase rates in small, incremental stages to avoid drastic impacts to customers, said Executive Director Mike Hopkins.
"Our employees have done a commendable job of tightening the belt everywhere possible within our organization," Hopkins said. "But there are costs that keep rising despite our efforts, and protecting our community's health and safety requires that we cover those costs."
Some expenses are the result of regulatory requirements, such as purchasing low lead brass for system materials. Other costs are replacing aging equipment, increased cost of purchasing water from Newton County and accelerating the Authority's pipeline replacement program to match the number of road widening projects getting under way with SPLOST funding, according to the press release.
The Authority is informing customers now to give them time to adjust water usage before the hot summer months, when usage usually rises.
"The Authority is a partnership between our customers and our board and staff," Hopkins said. "We are committed to continuing to provide exceptional service while respecting the economic realities of our community."