Huntsville Utilities rate increase still in the works for a better plan

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Will a Huntsville Utilities rate increase be coming for customers? The consensus is yes, despite a proposed increase being shot down nearly a week ago. The proposal would have an increase in May of $2.50 and another increase in October of $2.40.

Council members turned the power off to that plan, but what does that mean moving forward?

It's been five years since Huntsville Utilities has increased rates. The cost to keep this growing cyber city charged, has risen.

Now the municipality is seeking options that work best to power up the city while keeping citizens empowered over finances.

"We've got a lot of projects that are going on and we need to keep our customer service level up," explained Huntsville Utilities CEO, Jay Stowe.

That was the basis for a two step rate hike to bring in more than nine million dollars to Huntsville Utilities.

With a city on track to be the largest in the state in 10 years, it's a priority to maintain quality service.

“About 85% of our costs go to TVA and we needed this in order to have enough revenue to keep on doing the job we do," said Stowe.

In a 3-2 vote, the city council shut the hike down. According to Councilmen Bill Kling, who voted against the increase, he says low and fixed income elderly need another plan.  He is proposing a flat rate increase on 1.9% of all utilities.

"Then those who use more would pay more of the increase and those who use less would pay less,” said Kling.

That's one of many proposals Huntsville Utilities is taking into account to find the right plan, in the meantime.

"Every single day look at how to be the most efficient we can be,” said Stowe. “Our board reviews what we do and our budget and makes sure that we save money where we can."

Stowe assures the quality of services has not, and will not, be impacted by the need for more funding.

Over the next few months they will see what works best financially for the city of Huntsville and then they plan to present an alternative by this fall.