HUNTSVILLE, Al. (WHNT) — Huntsville Utilities is looking at a possible water rate raise, which could affect customers’ water bills.

The company says the water rate raise is necessary, but before any bill changes, multiple steps must happen including a vote by the city council.

As for future water rate changes, the company says that is in part due to the rising cost of doing business. Water rates for Huntsville Utilities customers have been the same since 2016, but a potential rate hike could change that in the coming months.

During the council meeting, a brief presentation was provided for city leaders underlining why the increase is essential, some of which include projects that will address critical water system upgrades and system rehabilitation services.

Huntsville Utilities says rate hikes will help fund the different projects that will work to meet both current and future needs of a growing population across the Tennessee Valley.

In order for water rates to change, city leaders would have to vote in favor of an increase.

Although the city council didn’t vote on the matter, it’s the first step in a multi-layered process that will also involve public input in the coming weeks.

Joe Gehrdes with Huntsville Utilities provided an estimate of what kind of monthly increase an average household would see as well as the purpose behind the rate hike request.

“We’re looking at for households about $6.50 on average per month increase, we have tried really hard to stave it off as long as we could but with inflation and the price of materials and labor, etc., we just can’t fend it off anymore,” Gehrdes told News 19.

Gehrdes added that even if the increase were to become a reality, Huntsville Utilities’ customers would still be paying some of the lowest rates across Alabama.

Here’s a full breakdown of what those increases could look like for different households.

Huntsville Utilities is set for another presentation for city leaders at an August 24 council meeting, but September could be one of the earliest points where the council could cast their votes on the water rate increase request.