The Jefferson County Commission has voted to increase the rates of sewer users.
The increase passed on Tuesday to a vote of 4-0. Commissioner George Bowman was not present at the meeting.
Commissioner Jimmie Stephens initially stated that there would be no vote on the rate increase on Tuesday. Stephens said that the vote would come next week and only a discussion would take place.
Alabama's Attorney General Luther Strange sent a letter to the commission stating that he opposed the rate increase. The letter was read during Tuesday's meeting by a representative from the A.G.'s office. In the letter, Strange stated that "waste and fraud" escalated the sewer system's cost and that the rate payers should not be required to pay for it.
Commissioner Joe Knight said he was in agreement with the A.G.'s office over not paying for fraud, but stated that he felt Strange did not have "a passion to get those who fleeced us down here."
The vote was pushed by Commissioner Sandra Little Brown. She told everyone that she was ready to move forward.
The restructuring of the sewer rates is expected to generate 5.9 percent more revenue for the sewer system each year, which will mean an estimated increase of $8.3 million per year.
Under the new rates, the majority of customers will see their bills go up by $2 or less per month. Some increases could be as little as 12 cents per months for some users.
The new sewer rates will go into effect in March.
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