Monticello water customers will soon see a rate increase on their water bills. The minimum rate inside the city limits will increase from $8.50 per month to $11 per month while the minimum rate outside the city limits will increase from $11.25 per month to $15 per month.

During a Monticello City Council meeting Thursday night, the city council unanimously adopted an ordinance increasing the water rates. Ward 3 Alderman Josh McKiever did not attend the meeting.

The rate increase is needed to allow the city to apply for federal grants and begin the process of replacing the city’s aging water lines, according to Monticello Mayor Allen Maxwell.

Maxwell said the city does not qualify for federal grants to fund water line replacement because the city’s minimum water rate is too low.

“If you don’t charge at least $15 a month for your water they will not give you a grant because they look at it as ‘you’re not charging for your water so why should everybody else in the United States have to come in and give you a grant to pay for your water,'” Maxwell said. “So, if we do $3.50 this year and $3.50 next year we will be able to apply for federal grants.”

Currently, the city is replacing its water lines three feet at a time, which is a costly and inefficient way to replace the lines, Maxwell said.

“I know y’all get tired of hearing me talk about this but I’ve got an engineering report… and if you read that engineering report it would scare you because they believe that water pipe in the United States will eventually be a health issue and there will be parts of the United States that cannot supply good water and companies will be leaving State A to go to State B which can supply good water,” Maxwell said.