The Phenix City Council put in motion rate increases for its water and sewer system that will boost the bill to city customers by an average of $3 to $4.
The rate increases -- 15 percent for water and 40 percent for sewer — were placed on first reading by the council, with second reading and a vote on final approval at the next meeting on March 18.
The rate increase is the first for Phenix City customers since 2002. The growth has not allowed the city to keep up with increases in costs for many of the basics for water production -- electricity, chemicals and labor.
The city is also making changes to its wastewater treatment plant, which has not been upgraded since 1994, to meet new Clean Water Act standards and prepare for an Alabama Department of Emergency Management licensing inspection.