t was a house divided when the city council here discussed the future of water and sewer rates to the city's utility customers at Tuesday's meeting.
The city faces necessary maintenance to its water tower and a costly EPA-mandated upgrade to their water and sewer systems. Allstate Consultants, the Columbia-based engineering firm the city has hired to handle the sewer update, had advised the council to add small 1-2 percent rate increases annually to help cover costs in order to avoid a drastic rate hike years down the road.
Not every city official agreed with the firm's suggestion - or with each other. Mayor Kevin Phares was the most outspoken critic of a rate increase.
"That's really tough, because the economy is killing people," Phares said. "After just recently raising the rates and all that, I'm really against another rate increase this year."