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Etowah changes billing structure
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At its last meeting of 2014, Etowah Water and Sewer Authority voted to change how it bills its customers.

The vote came Dec. 9.

For residential customers, the change will be from a minimum bill that includes a certain amount of consumption to a base charge, followed by charges per 500 gallons of water used, Etowah Water and Sewer Authority General Manager Brooke Anderson said.

The base charge for residential customers will be $25.50. Anderson said this new billing system will be phased into customer billing over the next four years. The base charge will be locked in for many years, he said.

The customers will be more in control over their bill, Anderson said. If they use 500 gallons, they will pay for 500 gallons. They will have more control month over month because they will only be charged for what they use.

The current style of billing includes 2,000 gallons in its minimum consumption charge.

Anderson said he hopes the new billing system will help customers on a fixed income or customers with only one or two household members who do not use a lot of water.

Anderson also introduced a similar style of billing for Etowahs commercial customers. Anderson said commercial customers will pay one flat rate per 1,000 gallons of water. He hopes the new billing will help businesses. Theyre not being penalized for being successful. That way they can use whatever water they need to use and be successful.

The board also approved Etowahs budget of $3,338,271 for 2015. Anderson said the budget includes all operation and maintenance costs and is a decrease of 1 percent from the 2014 budget.