The Greenville Utilities board approved the $2.00/per month base facility charge on Thursday. This charge is an increase to an already existing fee.
Customers will see a price hike starting April 1.
NewsChannel 12 wanted to see how people in Greenville felt about the rate increase. We found out most people didn’t like the idea of seeing their bill go up.
“That’s just ridiculous to me. It really is,” Stephanie Smith said.
“It’s just outrageous here in Greenville. It’s basically just monopoly and something needs to be done,” Ashley Pope said.
Sue Hatch, the public information officer for GUC, said the company is facing a deficit for this fiscal year and that’s why they increased the base facilities charge.
"We are required by the local government commission to have a balanced budget by the end of our fiscal year which is June 30. So, if we do nothing we have a deficit by about over $800,000 dollars. So, if we do nothing we will have a deficit by the end of June and we can't let that happen,” Hatch said.
Hatch said they have tried other measures to pay the deficit down.
“We always increase our efficiencies and do various cost saving measures and as a last step we pass it on to customers,” Hatch said.
$2.00/per month may not seem like a lot, but when added up its $24.00/per year and for some people, like Tina Grimes, that’s too much money to pay.
“Ah, I don't feel too comfortable because the city is already charging a fee, I’m not sure if it's 11 or 12 dollars," she said.
Grimes is talking about the city's trash fee increase that went into effect July 2012. The city’s basic pickup jumped from $9.60/per month to $11.75/per month. Backyard pickup jumped from $26/per month to nearly $41.00/per month.
That’s because in the 2011-2012 fiscal year, the city's sanitation department was more than $800,000 dollars in debt. According to Kevin Mulligan, the sanitation department should be self-sufficient and pay for itself. However, that didn’t happen and that’s how they accrued the debt.
Greenville Utilities is not the same entity as the city. However, some people in the community may have both GUC and the city's sanitation department charges on the same bill.
Hatch said customers can make up the $2.00 difference on their monthly bill by simply turning down their thermostat by one degree for one day.
The increase in the base facilities charge also eliminates a planned electric rate hike of 1.75% set for the next fiscal year, according to Hatch.