By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -
Vinny Stuart owns a business in Bay City, and he said there's one thing that will always hold true with business. That's when expenses go up, so do prices.
"Anytime something goes up on us, we have to find a way to make it go up on you," said Stuart.
And that'll soon be the case, because utility rates in the city are going up. Stuart said it puts himself and other residents in a tough spot.
Joyce Pietryga lives in Bay City, and she said she's already paying an arm and a leg each month for utilities.
"I've unplugged everything in my house except for what's necessary. These utilities are putting us in the poor house," said Pietryga.
At Monday night's Bay City City Commission meeting, Electric Department Director Phil Newton told commissioners his department has held off raising the rates as long as it can.
"Over five years, within that period of time, without a rate increase, we'd be negative. We'd have to borrow our operating funds," said Newton.
The commissioners agreed.
"We have to pay those costs. We have to balance our budget," said Commissioner Dennis Banaszak.
The board all voted in favor of raising the rates in the city by 4.5 percent this year and again 4.5 percent next year. For an average home, the increase will mean about three dollars more a month. Commissioner Chad Sibley said even with the increase, Bay City's electric rates are still the best around.
"Looking at the books and looking at our rates, we are beating everybody, hands down," Sibley said.
The city believes this increase will bring in about $1.5 million this year.
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