Hawthorne's Utility Rates Increase
Soon it will cost Clarence Ivey more money...nearly 30 percent more... every time he turns on his faucet.
He says the increase to his water bill every month will really hurt him financially.
"It's going to cost my pocketbook pretty good because I'm retired and everything costs us," Ivey said.
But the hike is exactly what the city of Hawthorne approved tonight.... an overall utility increase of 26 percent, plus an additional surcharge to make up for the four months that have already passed in this fiscal year.
And Ivey isn't the only resident who opposes it.
"Something has to give. We'll either cut our medicine or cat food or something," Mary Moore, Hawthorne resident, said.
"During these hard economic times, we've got to be careful," William Carlton, resident, said.
These residents came to a special meeting at Hawthorne City Hall tonight to voice their concerns.
The city hired a financial planner to figure out how get Hawthorne out of debt... which is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The planner says the rate increase is necessary.
"You're basically out of funds and you have to act quickly to avoid another financial crisis," Chip George said.
But Hawthorne is the second poorest city in Alachua County, after LaCrosse, with an annual family income of $31,000.
And most residents say they just can't afford to pay more every month.
"Over half this city has government assistance. It's going to hurt us, I don't care if it's $5 or $50.
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