Otterville residents angered at city officials

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OTTERVILLE - Customers in the Cooper County community of Otterville are upset over increased water rates and billing changes.

The city recently switched to an electronic billing system. Previously it did all utility bills by hand. Now, customers are getting their old bills and new bills at the same time. In the meantime, rates recently went up to help fund a new sewer system and repair it and construct maintenance on the water tower.

The city said it wanted to make up for the two months now that it's on a new system. It asked residents to pay the specified amount, which was all explained in a letter the city sent out, by October 1.

Some customers said they are not crazy about the changes.

"This is kind of understandable because they are trying to get everybody caught up to where we're only a month behind like a normal utility," utility customer Dana Sewell said. "It's just that when people don't expect it, you know, there are shocks like oh my gosh. For me it was a 200-dollar water bill."

City Alderman Belinda Newgaard said she understands why people are upset, but she said things in Otterville needed to change.

"We've been accused of not caring and that's not what, you know we haven't thought of that," Newgaard said. "We have thought of that. I'm on a fixed income myself, so you know, it does mean medicine and food. What do you do without? Well, you figure out how to do it, but you know there are maybe a lot of older people in town who maybe don't have family in town that can help. Well, we're trying to do that."