High Water Bills Hit Williamston

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Call it a perfect storm of unforeseen events and bad timing.

The Williamston City Council vote to raise water rates by 9% was unavoidable, according to the City Manager, Alan Dolley.

He explained, "Late last fall we had an emergency water and sewer main replacement on North Cedar St; and then, this winter with the extreme cold, we had an excess in number of water line breaks, and it basically ran the water fund down to where they have very little reserves."

The average homeowner will see a $6.42 increase over a two-month period.

Dolley says another contributing factor is bonds that were issued in 1991 the city is now starting to pay off. "So, we're dealing with decisions that were made back in the 90's," he explained, "when the economy was better, you know, so we're doing the best we can."

Chris Lewis has lived in Williamston for more than five years. His concern is how the higher prices will effect the growth of the city.

"It's not something that I want to pay, but I know that it's something that's inevitable because we want water and we want sewer, but I think there's larger issues at stake here for the whole community," he said.

Lewis sees this as a sign of an overall trend in Williamston. "I've noticed that especially with the schools that enrollment is declining and a lot of that I think goes down to the fact that right now in Ingham County, Williamston is close to the top in regards to what people are paying."

The rate increase will take effect in September.