"It's kind of hard making ends meet because it's either pay the electric bill or get shut off and if you pay the electric bill you have to let other things go," Sue Gollaher said.
Gollaher is a Board of Public Works consumer, and she said she's struggling to pay her utility bill right now. She said she's going to have to cut back to make ends meet if there's a rate hike. Gollaher understands why rates are going up, but she wants to know why they don't go down.
"Well just because if they're saying we need the maintenance and stuff, that's alright. I can understand that, everything needs to be worked on through the years and different stuff but to stay high, that's hard to do," she said.
The Board of Public Works is trying to limit the rate hike. General Manager Bob Stevenson says if the costs to make the EPA required improvements were fully passed on to consumers, rates would jump 30 to 35%.
Stevenson's plan is to issue bonds. Revenue from selling the bonds would pay for the improvements and the BPW would pay it off over time with interest. By doing that, Stevenson said it would only increase utility rates by about 4%. This would be the third rate hike in four years because of upgrades to the utility network.
"We don't have profits by definition. Every dime that we earn over and above our expenses eventually gets plowed back into our system," Stevenson said.
The bond issue will be put on the August Ballot, but if it doesn't pass, Stevenson says they will borrow money from a State Agency, but that could result in higher interest rates and an even higher rate hike in the future. He says a rate increase will go into affect next year.
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