Raleigh water rate increase on hold

January 8, 2008 5:26:14 PM PST
A 50 percent rate increase for Raleigh water customers is on hold. City leaders want to see how the hike could impat the drought before making a change.

When Mayor Charles Meeker proposed the idea Monday, he thought the city council would be on board, considering the exceptional drought conditions across the state. But that wasn't the only idea the council rejected.

The issue of what to do about the shortage of water only gets bigger.

"Letting people know that irrigation water may not be available, making sure folks put low flow shower heads, and make sure their commodes are as water efficient as possible," council member Phillip Isley said.

Those are some of the recommendation council members agreed upon Tuesday -- after shooting down the two most constroversial ideas from Mayor Meeker.

"We're going to hold back on the surcharge and rate increases," Isley said.

For now, there will not be a 50 percent surcharge on water rates and water usage for households will not be limited to 25 gallons a day, per person.

"The Council's going to review these, and I htink everyoen agrees that we need to take steps to conserve right now and that's the main point," Meeker said. "And we'll work out the other points over the next couple of weeks."

The Mayor says the city is looking into the possibility of tiered water pricing. That means once you hit a set limit, your rate foer up thereafter.

Currently, Raleigh does not have the technology for such a plan. And as for enforcing the recommended ideas, Isley said, "We don't have the staff to do that. I mean a lot of this is going to have to be voluntary."


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