Warner Robins council approves utility rate increase | News
The city of Warner Robins has approved how to spend its money in the coming year.
Council opened the Monday night meeting with a tribute to Houston County High's baseball team for winning the state championship.
Mayor Randy Toms also swore in seven new police officers for the city. That makes twelve total officers he's sworn in since he's taken office.
"One of the biggest joys I have is swearing in police officers, because I know that we have crime. I understand that and the only way we're going to combat that is to put police officers on the street," said Mayor Randy Toms.
Council voted to increase the utility rates for consumers, something councilman Tim Thomas said needed to happen to fund improvements to the city's water plant. He said he preferred an increase in the utility rates, instead of increasing the millage rate.
"If we go with the millage rate you're going to affect only property owners. This way, you're affecting everybody that uses water," said Thomas.
Councilman Chuck Shaheen was the only member of council to vote against the increase. Shaheen wouldn't talk on camera, but in the pre-council meeting he said he wanted a rate study first. Other councilmen fired back saying a study should have been done four years ago, and the rate increase was needed.
"I don't want citizens to think that we voted for the increase in order to balance this particular budget, because I don't think it's related to anything in this particular budget," said Lauritsen.
Mayor Toms said the increase helps the city plan for the future. "It's something else that we need to look at, and we need to plan instead of getting to a point where it's time to do something, but we didn't plan ahead."
Next year's budget does not include an increase in the millage rate, but does include a raise for all city employees.
"It was important for us to right out of the gate let our city employees know and let our citizens know what a great job our city employees are doing and recognizing them just a little bit with a three percent increase," explained Toms.
Your utility rate will increase ten percent a three to five dollar difference on your bill.