Residents concerned about possible increase in utility fees - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/26/10

Residents concerned about possible increase in utility fees

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Some customers could see big increases in water fees. The Lubbock City Council will consider the proposals at their meeting on Thursday.

Customers that rely on the City's water utilities are worried that these fees could affect more than just paying their bill, for some it could affect their livelihood.

At the corner of Guava and Baylor, you'll find the Mora family. Patricia Mora suffers from Lupus, a condition that weakens the body's immune system. In tough times, she has to make a very difficult decision, paying for medication, or paying for water.

"We go without our medicines or something else because if it was to get cut off, that big amount that they put on there...we can't afford. We get paid once a month, we're disabled," says Patricia Mora.

It's decisions like Mora's that weigh heavily on the mind of Councilman Floyd Price when he votes on whether or not to raise utility fees, like disconnects and deposits. "And that sort of brings chills to you when you hear of a citizen in this great city talking about cutting their medication in half, and cutting their food in half, just to pay their utilities," says Price.

The City Council will meet Thursday to decide on several issues concerning utility costs. Proposals from city staff suggests requiring deposits form new customers with credit risks and raising reconnection fees for those who don't make payments.

Director of Water Utilities, Aubrey Spear, says it's a tough call to make, but he thinks it's a decision that's fair to everyone. "If we don't hold specific individuals accountable for paying their bills and so forth, then the rest of the customers will wind up absorbing the costs and the fees," says Spear.

For customers on fixed incomes like Mora, making payments isn't always easy. And though she can't attend Thursday's meeting, she has a plea for those making the decision. "I would say please think about what you're doing before you vote on raising those...find some other way."

KCBD NewsChannel 11 will be at the City Council meeting on Thursday and we'll tell you what they decide.

©2010 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved.

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