Village Back on Own Water Plant, Considers Raising Water and Sewer Rates

By Jeremy Coumbes on January 30, 2023 at 3:17pm

The Village of South Jacksonville may have to consider raising water and sewer rates just as the treatment plant has come back online.

Village President Dick Samples updated the Board of Trustees during committee of the whole Thursday night, that the village has been off of the line from the City of Jacksonville since last Friday.

The village has been on the city’s water supply since the middle of October after problems were discovered with pumps and other equipment at the plant forcing the shutdown.

Samples says the plant is still without its permanent backup generator, but otherwise things are running well at the facility located near Oxville. “We didn’t remodel the plant but we made a lot of modifications down at the plant during the time we were down. We did a lot of cleaning in the system, cleaned up what I call the lagoon system where we flush the excess out every week. And a lot of this is mandatory and wasn’t done forever but we’re doing it now”

Samples told the trustees during the month of December, the village used more than 14 million gallons of water from the City of Jacksonville at a cost of $82,948.

He said the city billed the village at the December rate which he was thankful for as water and sewer rates increased in the city at the start of the year. In mid-December, the Jacksonville City Council voted to raise the rates with the inclusion of available ARPA funds for certain projects. Mayor Andy Ezard said at the time that the base water user would see roughly a five-dollar increase per month on the bill.

The Village of South Jacksonville treats its own water at the Oxville plant, however, all sewage service in the village is treated by the City of Jacksonville’s plant which is set to receive a $30 million phased-in upgrade over the next several years.

Samples says it’s not feasible for the village to again consider constructing its own wastewater treatment plant, and that combined with having a direct link to the city’s water service as a backup means they will need to take a hard look at their current rates.

We could raise the water rates, which they are dirt cheap. I mean we charge five dollars and something per thousand-gallon unit and the City of Jacksonville is like eight dollars. So it’s just a matter that, I feel we need to do it and also we don’t have any reserves set up in the event we need to replace lines or fix lines or whatever. We just do it, and thus it runs us short.”

Samples says the last time water and sewer rates were raised in the Village of South Jacksonville was in 2004.