MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - The Madison County Commission has approved a water rate increase for the first time since 1999.
The deal approved by the commissioners states there will be a 2% increase for customers annually for the next five years.
Chairman Dale Strong said this move comes from an independent study they recently had done.
"For every dollar of water that we produced we were charging 83 cents to residential customers, so what the commission did today is bring it up to where it needed to be," he explained.
After five years they will reevaluate the rate. Strong said they hope this will make the water department operate more efficiently, as well as the construction projects they are working on as Madison County grows.
"We've got some 88 miles of water lines that we've still got to replace in Madison County. We've already approved to replace 17,000 water meters," said Strong.
This rate increase will only affect Madison County Water Department customers. District One Commissioner Roger Jones said a lot of the water lines and meters are more than 30 years.
"We have about 30,000 customers about 20,000 of those are in the district I represent. That's the reason I stepped forward to make the motion for this rate increase," he said.
Jones said he thinks it's very important they keep up with infrastructure.
"We're having an enormous amount of water leakage, we're losing water, it's costing the people. We're way behind on replacing outdated lines and I think this will give us the opportunity to do a better job of providing water for the residents of Madison County," he said.