ROCKDALE, Texas (KXAN) — Monday night, the city of Rockdale took a big first step to fixing its notorious red water that’s been flowing from the faucets for years.

The city council unanimously approved the first of four proposed water rate hikes over the next six years. The extra fees expected to start showing up on water bills next month will help pay for a complete overhaul of the city’s drinking and wastewater water system. The money will also help get the city in compliance with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Those who live in the town, located about an hour northeast of Austin, will help foot the $48 million bill to build a new water treatment plant, replace 26 miles of old corroded cast iron pipes and five miles of asbestos concrete pipes. The rest of the funding will come from state grants and loans approved through the Texas Water Development Board.

“Why did Rockdale, Texas wait until the present time to do something when it’s going to cost the poor people that have to pay this crap?” a heated Rockdale resident asked the city council Monday night.

But others are happy to see the city finally moving forward on a plan to improve the entire water system.

“We’re either going to fix the water or we’re not going to fix the water — or we’re not going to have a town,’ Rockdale City Manager Chris Whittaker told a resident at the meeting. “I mean that’s the bottom line.”

Currently, most water customers pay one set fee of $25.88 per month, plus $4.76 if they use more than two thousand gallons of water. That equals $30.64 a month.

Under the new rates, customers will be charged a set price based on the size of their meter, plus a fee for the amount of water they use. For example, a customer with a three-quarter inch meter will be charged $34.94 plus $4.76 if they use anywhere from zero to seven thousand gallons of water per month. Customers are looking at $39.70 for the cheapest bill for the smallest meter and lowest water usage, which comes out to $39.70 per month. That’s about $10 more per month, which equals an additional $120 per year. The larger the meter, the higher the bill.