It appears the City of Williamson will increase water and sewage rates, or at least attempt to do so this summer.
Apparently our town is deep in debt with Veolia, a company that the city contracted to handle the water, garbage and street repairs. In fact, at a recent special meeting, it was revealed that the city owes Veolia $1.2 million.
So apparently the citizens of our fair city are going to have to pay more for water and sewage to help get out of debt. That debt is projected to be $1.4 million in the near future.
But is that fair to the average middle class citizen?
In the past, the City of Williamson had its own street department. But, in 1999, during a previous administration, those services were contracted to an outside company.
Veolia charges the town more than $150,000 per month, but has only been paid $100,000. Thus the deficit.
Our question – maybe it is time to get out of the contract with Veolia and let the city run its own street and water departments again. It worked in the past, so why not now?
Obviously the city cannot afford a company or contract like it has with Veolia. Even with this proposed increased on the citizens of Williamson, where will it end? Under the last administration there was an increase. Now we are looking at another huge spike in water and sewage rates.
It will be difficult for those on fixed incomes to pay higher rates. Williamson has a high percentage of the elderly in its population.
It will even be difficult for those in middle class to pay more each month. The economy is in the worst shape it has been in for many years. Electricity is higher and AEP is also asking for another raise in power rates. We all know that gasoline is higher and it will never go back under $2.00 a gallon.
Where will it stop?
We know the current administration has inherited this debt. But they should consider other alternatives.
One alternative would be for the city to consider taking back its own departments. We aren’t sure if this would save the city money, but if it worked in the past, why not now?
Those citizens who are questioning the proposed increase should voice their opinions. The City Council meetings are open to the public.
The next regular meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 13 at 6:00 p.m. and the special meeting on the reading of the increase is Monday, August 17 at 1:00 p.m.
Customers who want to voice their opinions and comment on the utility hikes should be in attendance.