GREENVILLE — City residents will see an increase on their water and sewer bills due to the result of decreased revenue.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the city council approved a 5 percent rate increase for water and a 10 percent rate increase for sewer.
“Not approving (the rate increases) would be detrimental for the sewer fund and water fund,” said City Manager George Bosanic. “We are reluctant to raise rates, but it’s out of our control.”
The item was to be approved during the consent agenda as it was proposed as part of the 2013-2014 city budget passed in June. However, Councilwoman Jeanne Cunliffe asked for the item to taken out of the consent items to be discussed with the public.
“I think this needs to be better addressed,” Cunliffe said. “The residents deserve to know what is happening and we should receive public input.”
Bosanic said public comment for the rate increases were supposed to be received during the public hearing, which was held on June 18.
“(We) went into detail on the need for this,” said Bosanic, noting one main reason for the increase is due to the increase in utility cost.
On average, Greenville is seeing a 10 percent increase on utilities per year, which now has caused the usage rates to go up.
“We need more revenue,” said Bosanic, adding the city has not only had to lay off employees, but use reserve funds to complete projects.
This also comes after major businesses closed, like United Solar Ovonic, which no longer uses the water, causing some of the city’s revenue to go down.
According to Bosanic, Greenville has been among the lowest in the state for water rates, and, several years ago, was the lowest in the nation.
In the future, Bosanic said he hopes the council can look at the rates and if not lower them, keep them from increasing again.