Imagine having to give up your home because of high water bills. That's exactly the decision some senior citizens are making in canton.
Already living on fixed incomes, they now have to pay an extra $35 a month after the senior housing complex was forced to raise rent to compensate for a dramatic change in its water bill.
This all started last summer when the city enforced an ordinance that's been on the books for 40 years. It requires every apartment to pay for a water meter. The Senior Housing went from paying for three meters to 80 and that mean thousands of dollars in new expenses.
"I would stay here if the rent wasn't so high, but I don't know what's going to make the rent go down."
Barbara Krewet is one of three people who is moving out of Canton Senior Housing because of high water bills. She said she doesn't think the city took into consideration how much this would hurt seniors on a fixed income.
"Well it's tough on us. There's people here that can't even take a raise on rent you know. My income don't change, and a lot of other people's don't either," she said.
Senior Housing Residents came to a public meeting to ask why the city is having them pay for 80 water meters when they only have three. Canton Mayor Jarrod Phillips says it's about treating everyone equally. He said people in houses and other apartment complexes already pay based on their own water meter.
"What is fair for one group, is it fair for another group not to pay that charge? How do you decide who is going to pay it and who isn't going to pay it? The ordinance is on the books and as elected officials we are here to enforce those laws," Phillips said.
Canton Senior Housing Manager Darlean Mohr says each water main costs almost $30 and that raises the yearly cost for water and sewer by more than $20,000 for senior housing.
"My problem is if they can change this on a whim, what about in ten years from now," she said.
Phillips says this didn't just impact those in Canton Senior Housing.
He said about 160 individuals were impacted with this ordinance. The costs will go towards infrastructure, while 36% will go towards paying off debt for water and sewer improvements.
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