Atlanta utility bill increases could lead to bankruptcy
If you are in a precarious financial situation, even the smallest unexpected cost could push you over the edge. Whether due to an unplanned medical expense, high gas or food prices, or a late fee on a credit card or other bill, any negligible amount could easily send you directly into deep debt, collections, bankruptcy, eviction, or foreclosure.
So it is no wonder that Atlanta residents are worried about the ever-increasing costs of utilities, specifically water, in the city. Today, the city of Atlanta will initiate what is said to be its final water rate increase, raising the cost of water by 12 percent for the fourth time.
The increases began in 2008, when the Atlanta City Council voted unanimously to raise water prices in order to help the city fund a $4 billion water and sewer system improvement that is mandated by the federal government’s Consent Decree. The council vote began a gradual 70 percent increase in water costs to city residents.
Atlanta residents already pay an average of $132 per month for water. With today’s 12 percent increase, the average monthly water bill is expected to jump to around $150. The city charges a base fee of $13.12 for water and sewer, regardless of usage or other factors.
Janet Ward of the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management, says that the city hopes to drive home the importance of conversation. In the years since the increases began to take effect, the city website has been offering tips for saving water and encouraging residents to keep water conversation in mind when doing things like watering their lawns.
Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Got Water? Atlanta rates to go up again on Friday,” Ernie Suggs, 30 June 2011