Augusta Utilities rates going up 3 percent, but the utility has an explanation

Monday, Jan. 6, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

We told you last week about how Augusta Utilities bills are going up, but today we’re looking at why. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – We told you last week about how Augusta Utilities bills are going up, but today we’re looking at why.

The company says rates will be 3 percent higher than last year, and that money is going towards the effort to stop sewage from overflowing into waterways like at Lake Olmstead.

Of course, there’s other items on the agenda, but it’s been a fight for years.

'You've got to make progress,” Augusta Utilities director Tom Wiedmeier said. “I mean, you gotta, and plus the infrastructure is getting older. That has to be addressed.”

Wiedmeier says that's why there's been increases to your bill since 2007. It's been going to big projects like the one at Rocky Creek – a brand new pumping station.

“That should resolve the issues we’ve been having in that basin with sewer overflows,” Wiedmeier said.

Another project on Boykin Road is improving for the future. There's a vision to expand the sewer system out in the county.

"We also have a lot of subdivisions that were developed without sewer, so that's a big priority of the Commission,” Wiedmeier said.

All of this is because Augusta Utilities is playing catch-up from neglect several years ago.

“We were actually running out of water in parts of the city,” Wiedmeier said.

Your water bill is going to two places: the storm water fee goes to fix the drains, and the rest to fix your sewers. There's no end to the fixing in sight.

"That's a very long process we'll be at from here on out,” Wiedmeier said.

Augusta Utilities says expect a 3 percent increase for the foreseeable future until utilities recommends to commission otherwise. They want to bring in $15 to $20 million a year to invest in the system. There's also a website being developed so that people can see what improvements are ongoing.

Copyright 2019 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.