Jacksonville water rate increase will go toward 'significant investments'

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Jacksonville residents are experiencing the city’s first water rate increase in over a decade, and the water company says it’s’ necessary to help the city.

JACKSONVILLE, Ark. — While getting ready to pay your water bill, you may want to take a closer look at the total because earlier this year, it was announced that Jacksonville residents will start to see an increase.

“We had a 35% increase here in 2024, and in future years, we’ve got several more years of this,” Jacksonville Waterworks General Manager Jake Short said. “We’ll have a 6% increase in 2025 and then three more years each at 4% through 2028.”

In 2021, Arkansas legislators passed Act 605 mandating that all water companies and providers perform a rate study. This came about after the state found many cities were behind. According to Short, Jacksonville was one of them.

The increase went into effect on Jan. 1, and both Jacksonville Waterworks and Jacksonville City Council members explained that it was all due to ACT 605.

“We were able to kind of hold off for over a decade, and so with this large increase here in one year, it stings now,” Short said. “I think the future increases should be much more manageable over time.”

Short said the rate includes water, wastewater, and trash services. The money eventually goes back into investing in the system’s infrastructure.

“If you look at West Helena and Jackson, Mississippi, there are some issues,” Short said. “We don’t want to be in that situation. We plan on making significant investments in our system and those improvements, but it takes dollars to do that.”

Short explained that this is not an ideal situation for anyone, but he wanted to assure people needing help that they should check in with their offices.

“We certainly recognize economically,” Short said. “It’s a struggle for some, and there’s a lot out there that have hardships, and nobody wants to raise rates, nobody likes price increases, but we were dealt a hand where we were forced into it.”

Click here for more information on utility assistance in Jacksonville. The Helping Hand of Greater Little Rock also provides help for those who need it.

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