COLUMBIA - The City Council passed an amendment changing the city's formula to calculate its sewer rates. Previously, the city averaged the use of water from January through March for a household. Customers paid for that average amount of water for every month throughout the year, regardless of the total water used. There is a cutoff to receive the benefit of the average: the residence must have a Jan.-Mar. average above 1,496 gallons per month. Residences with averages less than the cutoff must pay for the total amount of water used every month.
The council decided to calculate the average based on the billing from November through January, or the usage from October through December. The council aimed to prevent people who left Columbia for warmer states in the winter months from having an unfair break the rest of the year, because of their low usage in winter. By including October's usage, the council expects average to be higher.