The water treatment upgrades would raise the average residential bill from about $19 a month to about $28 a month. The electric rate hike would cost consumers, on average, about $6 more a month. While these increases may not seem onerous, when you put them into the context of all of the local, state and federal taxes and user fees Anderson residents pay, it may seem to some that citizens are being nickle-and-dimed into debt.
So, city council members and other local officials have a heady responsibility in the months ahead to take into account shrinking tax revenue and the user-fee burden on residents and make the very best decisions about what to approve and what to turn away.
Council members should ask all of the tough questions before reaching these decisions: Can we repair instead of replace? Why is a rate hike justified? What are our other options?
The community simply can't afford to lay out more money for improvements and to raise user fees unless it's absolutely necessary. Basically, we elect these officials to bring that blurry line between "want" and "need" into focus.
In summary Council members, at this time of year particularly, have to make difficult choices about how to use limited tax dollars and when to approve increases in user fees.