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Tybee residents could see changes to water bill soon

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 5:45 PM EDT
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TYBEE ISLAND, Ga. (WTOC) - In a few months, City of Tybee Island residents could see changes to their water and sewer bills.

According to the city, they have not had a rate adjustment in a few years, but they think it is needed now to help them fund a long list of infrastructure projects.

“We’re seeing a backlog of these infrastructure costs and we’re seeing your annual revenues were just about, just covering your operation expenses. So, we need to have some money to be able to put toward infrastructure cost and build back a fund balance in the water and sewer system,” Tybee City Manager Shawn Gillen said.

Gillen said the new water rate structure has two big changes. One is the base rate change, which is lowered to make it the same for residential and commercial properties.

The second is that a monthly bill could increase significantly for those who use 10,000 gallons of water or more per month.

“It starts to progressively climb higher, the more gallons you use. It already does that, but this one is a little more aggressive,” Gillen said.

Gillen says the rate structure does include a peak usage season from June 1 to Aug. 31. This means those rates would increase by a few dollars more than the new rates during the off season.

“You might see a $10-$15 increase on the bill if you’re a middle of the road utilizer, in that 5,000-10,000 gallon tier. If you are under the 5,000 gallons you’re probably not going to see too much. People need to look at their bills and see what their utilization is,” Gillen said.

Tybee resident Sharon Logan says she recognizes the importance of water and that if a rate change is necessary, she will pay it.

“You want to make sure that your water is clean and pure. You don’t want to have a leaky, ancient water system under the ground,” Logan said.

Gillen says according to their calculations, this rate change could be enough to fund about $2 million worth of infrastructure improvements. Including the old sewers in the Fort Screven area.

“We’re going back and we’re doing major sewer repair work over there. We have water main work where we have some areas of the city with low pressure,” Gillen said.

“As far as everyday use of water, I think we have a good deal here,” Logan said.

The city says this rate change has been approved by the city and will go into effect on Aug. 1.

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