Columbia City Council Approves Budget, Increasing Water Bills

If you live in the Columbia area, you can expect to pay a bit more for water.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The Columbia City Council approved its nearly $330 million budget for the next fiscal year Tuesday night. That means taxpayers will see an increase in their water bills.

There will be a $5 storm water fee increase, along with a 4.75% increase to water and sewer bills.

"The increase is really going to fund the capital improvement programs," said Victoria Kramer, the utilities communications manager.

It will fund $40 million in improvements to the water system, $93 million in improvements for the storm water system and $80 million in wastewater improvements.

"We ought to pay it now. You don't fix the system, it will get broken. When it gets broken, it will cost us more," said Roland Smallwood, a Columbia resident.

How will this affect your water bills?

If you live within city limits and your current water bill is around $59, you will see your bill go up to about $66. If you live outside city limits and you pay $99 a month, you will notice your water bill jump to around $103.

You can check how the 4.75% increase will affect your water and sewer bills here.

The increase in residents' water bills will take effect in July. Many residents will notice a difference in their bills in late July-early August.

"We don't want people to be blind-sided by this. We want them to ask questions and understand what their dollars are going to support," said Kramer.

Projects to replace water popes in the Booker Washington Heights and Earlewood neighborhoods are already in design. Construction is set to begin in the next fiscal year.

The city will be holding another utility drop-in on July 19 at Eau Claire Print Building, 3907 Ensor Ave. from 6-7:30 pm. 

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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