KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Kingsport city officials have decided to delay water and sewer rate increases by one month due to recent water meter issues.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted on the first reading Friday morning to push back the rate increases to Aug. 1. The board will vote on the measure on the second and final reading on July 19.
Last month, the board approved a 7.5% rate increase for water customers and 13.5% increase for sewer customers. Those rates were supposed to go into effect July 1.
In a press release Friday, Deputy City Manager Ryan McReynolds said city staff recommended delaying the rate hikes in an effort to be fair to customers.
“In the interest of fairness and due to the billing issues, we’re pushing back the rate increases by one month,” McReynolds said. “We apologize for the disruption and we appreciate everyone’s patience during this time as we work to return billing back to normal.”
The city has been working to replace thousands of water meters due to issues with the meters’ batteries failing prematurely. Issues reading the meters resulted in the city falling a month behind on water bills. In an effort to catch up, the city announced in June that it would do two billing cycles covering three months instead of three billing cycles. The city said monthly billing would resume in August.
According to the city, water meters are registering the correct water usage and customers are not being overbilled. The city is currently not charging late fees or performing any cutoffs of water service.