City’s Water Rates Increasing Slightly in 2024

By Jeremy Coumbes on December 19, 2023 at 10:46am

Water rates are going up in Jacksonville, but not by much according to officials.

The Jacksonville City Council approved the 2024 Municipal Utility Department’s 2024 budget along with an increase in the water rates during regular session last week. The increase comes a year after the city approved a hike in the rates last December, but officials say this current increase is less of a burden.

Mayor Andy Ezard says as the city works to improve the water and sewer infrastructure, an adjustment to the rate was inevitable. “We took a big hit probably five or six years ago when we built the new water plant and we let the community know at that time that it was a one-time- really we’re going to have to up em’. Since that’s happened we’ve done an excellent job of trying to remain as minimal as possible with increases.”

Under the new rates, a customer who uses at or below the minimum charge of 2,000 gallons per month will see their rate go from $46.10 to $48.62 per month, an increase of $2.52. Average users in the City of Jacksonville consume approximately 5,000 gallons per month. Those rates currently sit at $82.79 and will go up $5.91 to $88.70 on average.

Ezard says the small bump was needed to help cover all of the improvements the city has made so far and the major projects currently under construction or on the horizon. “We felt with all the infrastructure, the improvements we’re making, the sewer plant upgrades that we are doing in a phased approach, and running the water department the way we want to, that these are appropriate increases. And we hope the community understands because we’ve got great capacity and our water quality is at the top of the list as well.”

In September the city broke ground on a new headworks station at the wastewater treatment plant, the first step in a three-phase, multi-million dollar project to bring the plant up to new federal standards.

Currently, the plant is not able to process the appropriate amount of sludge to meet IEPA standards, and the US EPA has set new phosphorus limits the plant will have to comply with starting in 2025.

Jacksonville’s current wastewater plant was constructed in 1971 with the last major update coming in 1988.