Members of the Polk County Water Authority voted for the increase at their Feb. 11 meeting.
The change means the rates will rise from 125 percent of the water bill to 130 percent of the water bill.
That means that Aragon residents paying the minimum water bill of $10.80 will be billed an additional sewer bill of $14.04 instead of the current rate of $13.50 – amounting to an extra .54 cents to the authority every month per sewer customer.
Authority officials said around 70 percent of its customers pay the minimum bill, which covers those using zero to 2,000 gallons of water a month.
The rate raise was initiated to help cover a million-dollar improvement to Aragon’s current sewer system.
Kenneth Duskey, authority finance committee chairman, said in the authority’s Dec. 17 meeting that the board didn’t have a choice in implementing the $1 million-plus in sewer upgrades because they were necessary to stay in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
The county water authority became the owner of the sewer system when it struck a deal with the City of Aragon to take over the water generating plant. Part of the deal was to also take the sewer system, according to Melton Moss, authority vice chairman.
While the improvements topped $1 million, the authority’s sewer budget for the entire county is $120,000 annually.
The general consensus in the December meeting was that the 350 Aragon residents with sewer services should pay more to cover the sewer upgrades.
However, water authority officials also said that Aragon sewer system improvements would never break even with revenues even with a rate increase.