TIFFIN, OH (WTOL) – The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio held a public forum for concerned Tiffin residents who are speaking out about the proposed 22% increase in water rates.
The mayor, city council and residents are all angry about the increase, and did not hold back at the forum.
The word of the night was "unfair."
"Given difficulties facing these customers, the rate increase, as proposed is unjustified, is unreasonable, and is just unfair." said a resident.
The Ohio American Water Company says the rate increase is to cover the cost of replacing aging infrastructure that is currently failing.
"It's a safety issue, so that's why we invested so much and that's why the good part is we're replacing infrastructure, the bad part is that it does impact rates for customers." David Little told us.
The President of Ohio American Water says these improvements are investments the company has already made, and are looking to just recover the costs.
City officials, on the other hand, still believe the proposed increase is too high for the residents of Tiffin.
"22 percent in one shot, especially for so many people unemployed right now, so many people on fixed incomes - 22 percent at just one time is way too substantial of an increase to ask anyone to bear the burden of." said Aaron Montz.
Considering the stress of recent budget cuts, a plan that would slightly increase the water rate over the next few years would be easier to deal with.
"If they would gave us a five year plan, for a step increase, I think that's very important that they could have done that, and we could have considered that, so that we can budget into our budgets that amount." said David Sauber.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio will be holding four more hearings, and based on resident concerns and the facts presented to them, they will make a decision on the increase.