The proposed rates will be shared with the Jackson City Council this month for approval, according to JXN Water officials. If approved, the rates will be effective beginning January 1, 2024.
If enacted, it would be the latest in a series of changes after infrastructure breakdowns in 2022 caused many Jackson residents to go days and weeks without safe running water.
“We think this is a great opportunity to really change the dialogue around water and sewer in the city of Jackson,” Ted Henifin, interim third-party manager for JXN Water, said at a news conference.
Beginning in January, single-family households with small meters that use up to 748 gallons of tap water a day would see their bill increase by about 30 cents daily.
Customers with larger meters ranging from one-inch to six-inch in size (i.e., commercial, multi-family, and industrial), will see a daily increase from 71 cents (one-inch meters) to as much as $89 (six-inch meters) on average.
According to JXN Water officials, SNAP customers will have a new rate tier that will lower their bill by 69 cents a day on average.
“Those who need to save the most benefit from saving money by drinking tap water. This new rate structure makes water affordability possible for 12,500 JXN Water customers who receive SNAP benefits,” said Henifin.
Henifin said about 5,000 properties in the Jackson area use water without paying, adding to the financial strain on a system that has about $260 million in outstanding debts.
Henifin had previously floated a plan to price water based on property values to shift the burden away from Jackson’s poorest residents. Months later, the Mississippi Legislature passed a law banning that approach. State law now mandates that water be billed based on volume, not other factors like property values. Henifin said Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann, who presides over the state senate, approves of his new proposal.
The proposal also marks the first rate increase since a federal judge appointed Henifin to manage Jackson’s water system last November. Henifin created JXN Water, a corporation to manage water infrastructure projects
The majority of JXN Water’s residential customers would see an increase of about $10 per month, or a 13% increase. Customers with the largest meters, such as some commercial properties, could see increases of as much as $2,604, a 62% increase.
JXN Water will start shutting off water for people who don’t pay their bills sometime after Jan. 1st, Henifin said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.