Murray city leaders approve first reading of water, sewage rate increase proposal

Murray homeowner Jerry Fox is expecting to see a much larger utility bill later this summer if city council members approve a proposed rate hike.

He’s against it, but feels putting up a fight would be a losing battle. “Last month my water bill was $16 and my sewage was $38.  You’d be fighting city hall. There’s not a whole lot you can do. So, you just got to suck it up and try to pay it the best you can,” Fox said.

City council members approved the first reading of the ordinance Thursday, which would increase the current monthly average water bill from $15 to $30 by 2018. Sewage rates could almost double from the current monthly average of $36 to $70 during the same time period.

Council members Pat Scott and Linda Cherry voted against it because they felt homeowners who don’t even reach the minimum usage levels would be burdened with paying more.

“My concern is for the people that are paying the minimum and not even using it,” Scott told city leaders.

“It just seems unfair to those that can least afford it,” Cherry said.

The city’s water rates have stayed the same since 2006, and Murray Mayor Jack Rose said raising them is the only option to pay for the upkeep of the treatment plant.  

Fox feels differently and said the city’s past financial mistakes shouldn’t be pushed onto him. “It’s sad that’s there a lot of elderly people here too and they are on a fixed income,” Fox said.

The city council will have to read the ordinance a second time before a formal vote. The next Murray city council meeting is Thursday, May 14.

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