January storms could push back Albany Utility rate increase - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

January storms could push back Albany Utility rate increase

The proposed rate increase includes 5 of the 6 utility services (Source:WALB) The proposed rate increase includes 5 of the 6 utility services (Source:WALB)
Haryl Dabney, Albany resident (Source:WALB) Haryl Dabney, Albany resident (Source:WALB)
City Commissioner BJ Fletcher made the motion to delay the rate increase (Source:WALB) City Commissioner BJ Fletcher made the motion to delay the rate increase (Source:WALB)
Dabney believes that people are still trying to recover from the January storms (Source:WALB) Dabney believes that people are still trying to recover from the January storms (Source:WALB)
Derrick Brown, Albany Finance Director (Source:WALB) Derrick Brown, Albany Finance Director (Source:WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

The January storms could push back a possible rate increase with Albany Utilities.

City commissioners discussed possibly delaying the rate increase during Tuesday’s meeting.

A couple of residents also shared their concerns about the increased rates.

“Anytime there’s money coming out of my pocket it’s going to affect me,” Albany resident and utilities customer Haryl Dabney said.

Dabney spoke in front of commissioners to discuss his concerns about the City of Albany’s proposed budget for the 2018 Fiscal Year. The proposed budget includes a rate increase to 5 of the 6 utility services. Dabney said some residents can’t afford it.

“A lot of these people are on social security, retirement, they’re on pensions,” Dabney said.

The average customer who uses all of the services would see a monthly increase of $7.68. Dabney said the spike would be a major inconvenience.

“My grandparents have been retired for 15 years, they don’t have that margin,” Dabney said.

If passed, Albany Utility customers could see the increase next month. Dabney told WALB News 10 that it’s too soon since a number of residents are still trying to recover from the January storms.

“Now we’re talking about increasing the utility rates when people don’t even have a place to live,” Dabney said.

During the meeting, City Commissioner BJ Fletcher made the motion to delay the rate increase to January 2018, allowing more time for residents to recover from the storms.

“The timing of it may be the biggest concern that they’ve addressed with us, so we’re mindful of that,” Albany Finance Director Derrick Brown said.

Brown said it’s unknown on who can make the decision to delay it.

“Whether the decision can be made by the Board of Commissioners or the Albany Utility Board,” Brown said.

The city attorney will now look to see which party can vote on delaying the increased rates.

City commissioners are scheduled to vote on the proposed budget at their June 28th meeting. A budget must be approved by June 30, 2017.

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