by: Tenikka Smith Updated:
Residents and business owners in Rock Hill, South Carolina, will soon pay more for utilities. It’s all a part of the city's $204 million budget.
Starting July 1, residents will pay $6.95, or 6 percent more, for electricity and 30 percent more for storm water rates, which equals 71 cents. That’s a total of $7.66 more on utility bills each month.
Resident Joyce Mitchell said, "I think it's already high enough really."
Mitchell was at City Hall to talk to someone concerned that her electric bill is too high already.
"Last month it was $297 without the water." Mitchell said, "I called a couple of weeks ago to get someone out to check meter to see if they could find a reason why mine is so much higher."
Rock Hill gets its power through Piedmont Municipal Power Agency. A city spokesperson said the company increased the city's rate by 6.7 percent and council voted to pass along a part of that increase to customers as well. The city also approved a similar increase last year.
The city said the storm water increases will help cover costs to repair problems with the city's drainage system.
Longtime resident Jaweed Ansari is on a fixed income and is against the rate increases. "Gas, food, groceries -- living costs are going up but wages are staying the same," he said.
David Nelson just moved from Fort Mill a couple of months ago. He said, "$8, it is a lot and for people on fixed incomes it may be a problem, but that's the way things work."
Storm water rates also went up for businesses by 20 to 30 percent, depending on number of factors including the building's size.
The budget also includes hiring 18 new employees -- including four police officers and a new fire battalion chief.
All city employees working 30 or more hours a week will also get an annual $215 raise and employees will also be eligible for performance based pay.
Starting in 2016, the City Council and mayor will also get raises.