Decatur City Council approves increased utility bills

Decatur Utility customer’s bills will go up beginning in February.

Utility increases will start in February 2021 for the city of Decatur

MORGAN CO., Ala. (WAFF) - Decatur’s City Council passed the access rate increase by a three to one margin.

The increased fees will go toward Decatur Utility’s 10-year-plan to fix the city’s sanitary sewer system. The city’s aging infrastructure has led to sewage overflows for years.

Bills for the average customer will go up by $10 per month this year. Next year, another $6 gets tacked on. And in 2022, $4 more will be added.

“We’ve known that we’ve had this problem with our sanitary sewer system for quite some time. And now, we’re asking for our citizens to absorb this and for this to be placed on their backs,” Said Council member Billy Jackson.

Jackson, who voted against the increase, says the average household in Decatur makes $53,000 annually. He says the increase will hit less affluent parts of Decatur hardest.

Jackson says he would have preferred to see the rate increases go to large industry in the city.

“We’re basically subsidizing industry that’s making billions. I think that they can absorb it and I don’t think they would move away if we passed it on to them,” Jackson said.

WAFF reached out to Decatur Utilities for a statement on this decision and General Manager Ray Hardin says, “We appreciate the council’s support of the plan.”

Decatur Utilities faces an ongoing lawsuit filed by the state of Alabama over sanitary sewer overflows. It could go to trial in August.

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