Don’t panic if there is an increase on your most recent Senatobia water bill. Officials with the utilities department have corrected the error.
In September, city aldermen voted in favor of a 30% hike to cover the cost of operating the water and sewage departments. The $2.85 increase on the minimum monthly bill was due to take effect at the end of October, but customers were inadvertently overcharged last month due to a software error.
“Unfortunately, there was some miscommunication for when the increase was to take place,” said Earnestine Cowans, billing supervisor for the Senatobia Water & Gas Department. “We went back and made adjustments on everyone’s account and reverted them back to the original water rates.”
Since the new rates were approved by aldermen Sept. 7, Mayor Greg Graves said the earliest they could be implemented, according to law, is Oct. 15. Cowans said that effective date caused another problem because it falls in the middle of a cycle and utility bills are mailed out at the end of each month.
“We acknowledge we overcharged on the bill that customers received for water used from August 25 through September 24, so they will have a credit going forward,” Graves said.
Cowans said the credit will appear on the October bill, which includes services from Sept. 25 through Oct. 25.
There was also some confusion when the new rates will officially take effect since Senatobia has close to 3,500 water customers and meter readers run 15 different routes throughout the area.
“It’s the actual billing cycle that throws everything off,” Cowans explained.
Aldermen unanimously agreed to wait until December to implement the new rates and allow time for the October and November bill cycles to catch up with what is recorded by meter readers during those two months.
Mayor Graves told the Tate Record in September a boost in water rates was necessary because of the current labor market and employee shortage.
“We needed to give our workers a raise in order to keep them,” he explained. “We did a comparison, and our water rates were much lower than several other north Mississippi municipalities.
Minimum monthly charges for residential water rates in Senatobia are increasing from $7.10 to $9.95 for the first 2,000 gallons of usage. An additional $2.51 will be charged for each 1,000 gallons of water used above the 2,000-gallon mark.
For commercial customers, rates are rising from $8.29 to $11.61 per month for 2,000 gallons of water. The cost for each additional 1,000 gallons is changing from $2.07 to $2.90.
Senatobia water customers who reside outside the city limits will pay more as well. Residential rates are jumping to $12.43 for the first 2,000 gallons of usage and an additional $4.97 for each 1,000 gallons consumed above that number. Commercial rates outside the city limits are increasing to $17.40 for the initial 2,000 gallons and $5.81 for each additional 1,000 gallons.
If you have questions about your bill, call the Senatobia Utilities Department at (662) 562-5251.