Ridgeland’s water billing system least complicated
Ridgeland has the least complicated water billing system.
The city keeps water rates low with a consistent cost of $1.99 per 1,000 gallons.
The sewer rate is $4.56 per 1,000 gallons and includes Jackson treatment charges, according to Mike McCollum, public works director.
“We have 11,600 residential units, and that includes single family homes, duplexes, four-plexes, apartment units and retirement homes,” he said.
McCollum said on average, each Ridgeland citizen uses approximately 100 gallons per day.
“The average household in Ridgeland is 2.4 persons, so 240 gallons per day per household.”
According to McCollum, the city doesn’t have a large problem with collecting. For the 2016 fiscal year, the city expected to collect $5.699 million in water and sewer bills. The city received $6.012 million.
“We usually average from 80 to 120 cutoffs each month,” he said. “Those are probably repeat customers that we usually run into with that. We also offer multiple ways to pay the bill: you can come up to city hall, do a bank draft, or pay online.”
McCollum said Ridgeland doesn’t send out any additional notices when water will soon be cut off.
“We used to. Now we just put it on the regular bill… We may have had a little uptick (in people not paying) in 2008 or 2009, but cutoffs have been fairly consistent during my time here.”
Ridgeland raises water and sewer rates by two percent each year to match inflation.
Madison operates a little differently.
“We have a water rate of $8.15 for the first 1,000 gallons, and $1.50 per 1,000 gallons after the first 1,000 gallons,” said Chad Wages, Madison public works director.
“The first 1,000 gallons is a flat rate,” said Wages. “Most cities have a flat rate for the first however many gallons, which covers basic (maintenance) costs. After that flat rate cost, the rest is the cost of simply getting the water to your household.”
Wages said Madison also has two sewer charges.
“One is for the city collection system with a rate of $8 for the first 1,000 gallons and $1.50 per thousand after.”
There is also a metro sewer charge for waste water treatment of $2 per thousand gallons. The sewer rate is capped at 17,000 gallons.
“For sewer, we have to pay for treatment. A lot of communities don’t have that and maybe don’t have that charge, so we’re about average in terms of sewer rates. I would say for our water rate, we’re average or lower.”
Madison has 9,300 sewer customers, but only 4,930 residential water customers.
“Bear Creek Water Association has a large part of the water service territory in the city limits,” Wages said.
The average household in Madison uses approximately 6,500 gallons of water per month.
Out of the approximately 5,000 water customers in Madison, Wages said only 25 to 50 receive cutoffs each month.
“We do send a second notice, reminder.”
Wages said that throughout his time as Madison public works director over the past year, cutoffs have been consistent.
“We’re probably above average in terms of maintaining collections. Once you establish a cutoff policy and maintain that, cutoffs will get better. It helps maintain city revenue.”