Commissioners hope to fix water rate increase problem - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Commissioners hope to fix water rate increase problem in Effingham

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EFFINGHAM CO., GA (WTOC) -

People in Effingham County were shocked when they got this past months water bill, in some cases it had doubled and even tripled.

Effingham County Commissioners unanimously approved the new rates at their May 6 meeting. However, several of the commissioners now say they had no idea the rates would be that high or have this kind of impact.

"When the citizens got their first bill it was much more dramatic than what I was expecting and I believe what the other commissioners were expecting as well," said Commissioner Vera Jones, of District 2.

"I have never received as many calls in Effingham County as I have about this issue," said Jones.

That is because most of the people effected live in District 1 & 2. Not everyone that lives in Effingham uses the county water system but for those that do it has been a nightmare.

Effingham County buys its water from the City of Savannah and rates have gone up every year. Commissioners have not passed an increase until now.

"I actually made a statement in the meeting that no ones bill should be doubled. A utility is a fixed expense for everyone and no one should be put in a situation where, overnight, their bill doubles," said Jones.

But it did. Customers received a letter with their bill stating that both the base water and sewage rate doubled. The water base rate went from $10 to $20 and the sewage rate went from $15 to $30. In addition late fees went up and usage rates went up as well.

"I want to make it clear that I have got it. I understand that this is mistake and we want to fix that," said Jones.

She has asked for the issue to be placed on the July 15th meeting agenda where she expects there will be a revote.

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