Norris water/sewer customers will see higher bills come July 1

Norris water and sewer customers will see big increases in their bills beginning in July as the City Council on Monday night approved a 25 percent boost in sewer rates and a 10 percent hike in water rates.

The typical water/sewer bill of about $80 will now be approaching $100 a month, which some city officials said would be the highest in Tennessee.

Mayor Chris Mitchell said after the meeting that most of the increase will go toward salaries of water and sewer employees.

“It’s almost entirely labor costs,” he said. “The Water Commission gave us basically no choice. They said they needed it for continued operations and retaining employees.”

The increase in sewer rates, which is expected to generate about $30,000 a year in additional revenue, also would help the city finance some of the $7 million-plus in improvements to the sewer system that are being mandated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Also added to each customer’s water and sewer bill is the city’s trash-collection fee, which was raised by $1, to a total of $6, by the council Monday night. That increase comes from higher rates the city must pay to Waste Connections for trash pickup.

The City Council also voted to pay all city employees an immediate cash bonus of $2,500 each, and add a 3 percent cost-of-living increase to their pay beginning July 1, along with 6 percent across-the-board raises already in the proposed fiscal year 2022-23 budget.