Leaders in Northport City Hall are considering hiking up fees the city charges to provide water, sewer and garbage services, which will lead to larger utility bills for all residents in the new year.

The city council introduced a measure in a meeting Thursday that would increase administrative fees on both water and sewer bills by $1.50 a month on January 1st, 2023 and then another $1.50 on the same day in 2024.

The resolution also proposes increasing garbage service rates by $4.50 for residential customers and $10 a month for commercial services.

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The resolution was only introduced for a first reading Thursday -- the earliest the council could consider voting on the matter is during their next regular meeting on Monday, September 19th.

In the meeting, Council President Jeff Hogg said the city had hired consultants to study its water, sewer and garbage rates, and the outside experts told the elected officials that an increase was necessary to "maintain and sustain" its infrastructure.

The ordinance read Thursday says "the City of Northport has not adjusted water, sewer or garbage rates in over ten years" and "a rate adjustment reflecting closer to actual cost of providing services is essential to maintain services and quality of life," but that first claim is somewhat tenuous.

Since 2011, municipal water rates have been automatically increased by 3.25 percent annually, and those increases will continue. This measure instead will increase the administrative fees applied to water bills, which have not changed since 2010.

Different administrative fees are applied to both water and sewer customers based on the size of the pipes they use.

For water customers, there are nine tiers with fees starting as low as a $7.71 fee each month for users on a 5/8" pipe and rising as high as $235.85 for customers requiring massive 8-inch wide pipes.

A similar system is in place for wastewater billing, and the resolution introduced Thursday would increase administrative fees on that side of the equation as well.

The ordinance being considered would increase the admin fees applied to all nine tiers by a flat $1.50 in January 2023 and again in 2024. Since the increase would be applied to both water and sewer bills, residents would see their monthly bills increase by $3 in January and another $3 the year after.

The ordinance would also hike residential garbage rates by $4.50 to $16.60 per cart, per month in January 2023, then be automatically adjusted each year thereafter. Commercial rates will climb to $27.12 per cart, per month.

All told, the measure would increase Northport residents' monthly bills by $10.50 in 2024. None of this accounts for the cost of consumption, which would vary by customer based on their usage.

Stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread for updates on this discussion as they develop.

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