Rise of Utility Rates Worry Columbia Business Owner

8 years 1 month 1 day ago Tuesday, September 21 2010 Sep 21, 2010 Tuesday, September 21, 2010 7:20:57 PM CDT September 21, 2010 in News
COLUMBIA - For five years, Bill Barnhouse has been the owner of Barnhouse's Crazy Music Store in downtown Columbia.

At his store he sells everything from sheet music to snare drums.

During this time, he says he has seen utility rates increase.

And now, they'll go up again.

The Columbia City Council approved a 2% electricity rate increase at its meeting Monday night.

The average household will see about a $1.70 more on that portion of their monthly utility bill.

The council also approved increases in the water and solid waste rates.

Together, these increases create a $7.41 jump in the average Columbian's utility bill.

Barnhouse says he's not a supporter of these increases.

"Always worried about bills on the rise," he said.

But he knows he has to pay.

"You know, just bills going up and the same kind of money coming in.  It's a bad combination overall, but, if you have to pay, you have to pay," he said.

Columbia City Manager Bill Watkins defends the increases as a necessary evil to protect Columbia's financial future and infrastructure.

"Certainly we're very sensitive to the increased cost that we're asking for.  But I'm more concerned about providing fire protection and clean water," he said.

Barnhouse joked he came up with his own way to conserve money on his electric bill.

"Emphasize acoustic guitars," he said.



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