A proposed water rate increase in Live Oak has caused some controversy among residents, and with a vote on the plan coming up in a few weeks, city officials wanted to give the community a chance to hear about the particulars of the plan.

That took place last week at a special community forum at the Live Oak Community Center, and city officials were on hand to answer questions about the plan and give out information on the new rate structure.

Water rates in the city haven’t gone up since 2005, according to Live Oak City Manager Jim Goodwin.

“We wanted to come up with something that was more fair,”’ Goodwin said.

The new plan, Goodwin said, bases water rates on consumption.

“All water users pay the same amount under the current system,” Goodwin said.

That, he added, leads to higher water users being subsidized by lower water users.

“Under the new plan, users will pay for the amount of water used and therefore have greater control over their water bill,” Goodwin said.

The average household of four in Live Oak uses about 1,200 cubic feet of water per month – about 9,000 gallons.

Current, a flat rate of $23.97 per month is charged.

Under the new plan, a family that uses 1,200 cubic feet of water a month would pay $34.89. A family that uses much less water – 3 cubic feet – would pay just $22.59, which is less than the current bill.

Without an increase, Goodwin said, the city’s water fund will have a negative balance by the end of the 2018 fiscal year.

The water rate plan is scheduled to be considered at a special City Council meeting slated for Wednesday, September 27.