ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Some Albany residents are asking city leaders to "find another way" when it comes to the possibility of raising utility rates.
On Monday, the Board of Commissioners of the City of Albany were presented with a proposed fiscal year 2018 budget.
The $272 million budget includes a rate increase to 5 of the 6 utilities, with the average Albany Utilities customer paying an extra 7.68 if they have all of the services.
Lorenzo Heard, an Albany Pastor, spoke in front of city leaders Monday. He said that the proposed rate increase would hurt some families at his church.
He said he's heard from several people who are having a hard time paying for needed medications and can't afford the higher bill.
"At some point, as a community, we have to say can you find another way to cut expenses versus continuing asking people who are living in poverty and paying their bill at present," Pastor Heard said.
WALB News 10 spoke to a couple of commissioners after the meeting. They said they would like to consider other options.
"What do we need this money for? Where can it come from? What can we cut back? But you know when people want to cut back, they need to know what they're asking for," Ward III City Commissioner BJ Fletcher said.
"I don't think it's a good time, mentally, for the City of Albany to go into that territory," Ward IV City Commissioner Roger Marietta said.
Commissioners will now meet one-on-one with utility employees to discuss the budget and the rate increase.
Under state law, the city has until June 30th to adopt an approved budget.
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