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Charlotte Area News

Bigger Water Bills Coming In Mecklenburg County

http://66.225.205.104/JR20110701.mp3

Water and sewer services have new rates as of today in Mecklenburg County and the majority of utility customers will get higher bills. The most obvious change for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility customers is the new "availability fee" that will appear every single month on water and sewer bills. For a typical user, the fee will be $6.55. Utility department spokesman Vic Simpson says the money will help pay off construction loans and cover the rising cost to maintain a vast network of water and sewer lines. "The new availability fees provide a more stable source of revenue that still comes in every month regardless of the amount used," says Simpson. "But we still have the (rate) tiers in effect to encourage customers to be water efficient. A lot of your bill will still depend on how much you use." Part of the new fee will be offset by a lower rate for the first 3,000 gallons of water used. Beyond that, the rates go up slightly. The majority of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility customers will see an increase of about $5 on their monthly bills. The very largest water users in the system will actually have lower bills because of a change to sewer charges. Simpson says the utility department is bracing for a round of calls from customers as the new bills arrive - partly because of the new fee, and because the changes come just as demand for water peaks in the hot summer months. For more information: www.cmutilities.com or call 3-1-1.