SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KFTA) — Folks living in Springdale will pay a little more for water and sewer services starting in January. It’s the first rate increase in the last five years, and base prices will also increase, said Heath Ward, executive director for Springdale Water Utilities (SWU).
Some community members wondered whether the change in price was warranted.
“My first question would be is, ‘what is the legitimate reason for raising the prices?'” said Angie Mathis, who lives in Springdale.
But a growing population mixed with a need for increased infrastructure proved good reasons for the request, Ward said. The minimum water service charge is currently $6.22 for the first 1,500 gallons. For sewer, it’s $5.42.
They’ll both jump to $10 each.
“Every time somebody mentions rate increase, there’s a natural reaction to be unhappy with it,” Ward said. “We try to let the public know where their money’s going and what we’re doing with it.”
In this case, people’s money is going toward keeping water quality and improving storage for a growing city. SWU will also work to expand water transmission lines into the west side of town, Ward said.
“[Initial estimates] didn’t predict we’d need that for another 10 or 12 years,” Ward said. “Our projections say Springdale’s gonna need it within the next five or six years.”
The city’s water and sewer services are already known as the cheapest in NWA, and that will continue, Ward said.
“Some people, for example, would be five, six, seven, eight times higher than us or even more,” Ward said.
Because of the small price bump that still keeps people’s monthly bill relatively cheap, most are okay with the situation—including city council, which unanimously voted through the rate increase.
“I obviously don’t want to end up like Flint, Michigan, so I’m willing to pay that price change to have the healthier water and sewage that works properly,” Mathis said.