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Petersburg council member to push for equal water rates

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jun 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 19:06:56-04

PETERSBURG, Va. – Petersburg residents have been frustrated since learning of a new water bill charge.

"It's just not fair to the customer," says Petersburg City Council Member Treska Wilson-Smith.

The Ward 1 representative believes charging about 1,700 customers triple the amount of everyone else for water use is wrong.

"To have people's water rates increase based on the meter [size], I feel is just wrong" Wilson-Smith says.

At issue is the water meter size for about 1,700 homes whose meters were recently discovered to be one inch in size.

The other homes in Petersburg use a five-eighths inch meter.

The City has started to charged one inch customer's almost triple the amount for their water due to the size difference.

"I get that the city needs money but you're hurting the people on a fixed income," said Carol Adams, who learned last month that her bill would be riding.

Retired and on a fixed income, Adams figured it would be cheaper in the long run to buy a smaller meter for $739.

"It's $188 down and $45 a month for one year," she said adding the city agreed to the payment plan.

Ron Flock, a member of the Government Watchdog Group Clean Sweep Petersburg, says "Why should you pay triple for the same service you've been paying for 50 yearsFlock said the difference just isn't fair.

Many living in the city, like Amanda Bishop, have concerns about the rate difference.

"I'm suing the same water as my neighbor and my neighbor's paying 80 dollars more, then that's not fair to my neighbor," says Bishop.

Wilson-Smith said she will introduce a motion during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting to have all residential homes, regardless of meter size, to pay the 5/8's rate, a motion she hopes will be voted on during the meeting as well.