Residents Debate Rate Hike
The subject wasn't on the city council's official agenda, but two resident got up to ask for two different approaches to paying that bill.
The debate was over whether all residents should share the costs equally to help grow the city's utility infrastructure or if the dollars to pay that cost should come from new construction that added to the burden.
The Columbia City Council won't be deciding how much more the city will have to pay for until September.
The city could raise electric rates by as much as 34 percent over the next four years.
Some Columbia residents say the direction the council takes on that decision is very important.
Columbia resident John Clark said he didn't mind an increase to pay for upgrades and maintaining the current system, but didn't want to pay for costs incurred from new home construction.
"If new people come and pay their fair share up front, then they and everybody else can share in the operating costs," said Columbia resident John Clark.
Don Stamper said residents old and new should pay similar fees.
"When it comes down to us paying for critical infrastructure, they want to segment it off and say the new homeowners should pay a disproportionate amount. You don't build great communities that way you don't build great societies that way. We do it together and we do it by working together," he said.
To try to reach that decision, the council will ask for public comment in three public hearings in August and September.
After that, the council will set the rates for next year's budget.