It’s back to the drawing board for the Live Oak City Council as it ponders increasing water rates for residents of the city.

Wednesday night at a special council meeting, the council voted 5-0 to table a proposed increase and start the entire process over again.

That, according to Mayor Jason Banks, will involve going out for bids again for consultant services in putting together a rate plan.

Council members were dissatisfied with the plan put forth by a previously contracted consultant, Hansford Economic Consulting. That firm was originally paid $60,000 to come up with a rate plan; City Manager Jim Goodwin later approved an additional $40,000 for the firm, drawing the ire of Banks and other council members.

About 20 people attended the meeting at the Live Oak City Hall.

Banks said the issue will come back before the council at one of its October meetings. From there, it will go to the water and sewer committee to refine what’s known as a “request for qualifications” from firms wishing to bid on the consulting contract.

“We’re going to have to raise your water rates,” Banks told the audience. “We just have to figure out how much, and do it in a fair way for the citizens of Live Oak.”

A new water rate proposal probably won’t be done until early 2018, Banks said. Then, that will trigger the Proposition 218 process, which allows affected residents to challenge it within a 45-day window.