ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany residents will be seeing a utility rate increase next year.
In a four to two vote, city leaders were in favor of a rate increase to five of the six utilities, with the average Albany Utilities customer paying an extra almost $8 if they have all of the services.
Initially, the rate was proposed to effect in July.
But with January storms, the rate increase won't take effect until January to allow more time for residents to recover.
Commissioner Roger Marietta was one who pushed for the delay.
But Commissioner Jon Howard who voted against the increase said the city should've taken another approach.
"We made a mistake a few years ago under the City Manager Tom Barry. He laid off a lot of our linemen and where we have to recover. And the storm accentuated and so this will remedy that problem for the future and future storms," said Marietta.
"I represent an area in the city in East Albany that a lot of folks are on fixed income especially senior citizens. I think there could have been other ways we could have balanced the budget, we could've dipped into the reserves," said Howard.
It's money city employees insist is necessary to bring the aging utility up to speed.
Also, the lack of manpower, the aging infrastructure and exposed wires was a problem that became very apparent following the January storms and outages.
Marietta said the city allows customers to round up their bill, the extra money they're paying on the bill will go into the city's hope fund to help residents who can't afford to pay them.
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