The rates are being increased–1.8 percent higher for both water and sewer usage–are because the Bainbridge City Council voted a couple of years ago to tie water and sewer rates to any increase in inflation.
Essentially, the idea is to keep the city’s water and sewer enterprise funds stable and not have them dwindle down, as they did in the past. When the enterprise funds lost money in the past, money had to be transferred from the city’s general fund to pay for any needed upgrades to water and sewer systems and equipment purchases that weren’t covered by SPLOST projects.
The new base rate will be $16 per account. Volumetric usage rates are $1.70 per 1,000 gallons of water and $1.70 per 1,000 gallons of sewer per month. There is also a new 20-cent monthly charge to cover the cost of maintaining the city’s five elevated water storage tanks. This charge will fluctuate annually to reflect the amount charged to the city, which is expected to decrease over the course of a 10-year maintenance contract.
For a water and sewer customer who uses an average of 10,600 gallons per month, the new rates will result in a charge of $52.24 per month.
The City of Bainbridge estimates it will have an average of 6,212 individual utility accounts throughout the year.
Bainbridge’s utility rates are still below state and national averages for the same volume, according to statistics kept by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority. The current state average utility bill is $78.92 and below the regional average of $79.92.