Talk over the water rate increases gets heated at this Ferriday Town Hall meeting Tuesday evening.
The town council said the only way they can fix the water problems is by paying off its debt to the USDA, which funded its state of the art water plant. So, to do that they hiked residential rates nearly $6 a month and almost $14 a month for commercial use.
But, that didn't sit well with customers.
"We’ve had increase after increase. Any increase on the citizens is something that we can not afford at this particular time. We don’t even have a working class here or anywhere to go to," Bishop Justin Connor Sr, a resident, said.
Town council said a state study shows the town isn't making money with its current rate structure.
"In all the surrounding areas, we are really at the average of other people. And, we have better water," Mayor Sherrie Jacobs said.
The town also argues it owes an outside company. This comes after the USDA said the city couldn't financially sustain the plant.
"They did tell Mrs. Lloyd, years ago, 'if you do not do what we asked, we will come here and increase the water ourselves by $20," Jacobs said.
So the mayor said the increase brings them closer to being USDA approved to operate its plant, which means not having to pay an outside company to run things.
"We didn't go up that much. And hopefully, we don't have to go up more, and we can start making enough money to bulk it back down," Jacobs said.
Customers could start seeing the increase in their next bill. Council members expect it to last about three years.