"It's hard to keep up with the bills," said Tomlinson. "If you're on a set income, it's very hard on you."
But starting Monday, Tomlison will no longer pay a set rate for his water use - something he wasn't expecting.
"I didn't know nothin' about it," he said.
New tiered water rates are part of a plan that's been in the work for some time. If you use a little, you'll pay the lowest rate per gallon. But if you use a lot, you'll pay a premium.
"It's time to simmer down a little bit," said Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker. "People really need to decide how much money they want to spend putting their fresh clean water out on their grass."
The idea was hatched after recent droughts when the city asked people to conserve.
They did. Too much in fact and that cost the city money. Meeker insists tiered rates aren't about recouping those losses.
"Here by conserving, not only do you get a lower rate because you use less water, but you also get a lower rate on that water. So this actually rewards the person whose conserved most," he explained.
But many who spoke with ABC11 Friday aren't so sure.
"I think that's ridiculous," said Raleigh resident Beth Woodley. "Government shouldn't be about making money. They're supposed to be serving us and taking care of us."
Either way, the rates change Monday and some folks are already getting ready.
"When we've bought appliances, we've made them lower flow appliances. And, I think probably, if we have to replace anything - new dishwasher or whatever - we'll be paying attention to stuff like that," said resident Erin Debnam.
The new rates only apply to residential customers. Businesses pay a set rate.
Residential Water Rates Inside Raleigh and Garner City Limits
- Tier 1 = 1- 4 CCF billed at $2.28 per CCF
- Tier 2 = 5 -10 CCF billed at $3.80 per CCF
- Tier 3 = 11+ CCF billed at $5.07 per CCF
- Non-Residential Water Rate: $2.95
- Irrigation Rate: $5.07
Residential Water Rates Outside Raleigh and Garner City Limits
- Tier 1 = 1- 4 CCF billed at $4.56 per CCF
- Tier 2 = 5 -10 CCF billed at $7.60 per CCF
- Tier 3 = 11+ CCF billed at $10.14 per CCF
- Non-Residential Water Rate: $5.90 per CCF
- Irrigation Rate: $10.14
One CCF = One hundred cubic feet, or 748 gallons of water.
All Raleigh utility service customers will:
- Receive a bill with a different appearance,
- Receive a new 10-digit account number. The new number will appear at the top of each new bill. Customers must reference the new account number when paying their bill or if they have billing questions after November 1, and,
- Send payments to a new mailing address.
Customers in Raleigh, Garner, Knightdale and Rolesville will receive a utility bill each month beginning in November.
- The first new bill will cover the period from the previous bill until the date the new bill is printed. The first bill may be for up to two months of service.
- Monthly billing will make budgeting easier.
- Monthly billing will enable customers to identify and correct internal water leakage problems quicker.
- Utility customers in Wake Forest, Wendell and Zebulon already are billed monthly.