Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Group speaks against rate increases

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BAKER - A crowed wasn't shy about sharing their thoughts on proposed utility rate hikes Tuesday night.

Hikes to water and sewer services would help balance the city's budget.  It is set to have an $800,000 hole.  The city council is split on raising the rates, although some leaders believe it's the best way to keep the city afloat.

"As a commission, I realize this is something we should have done three years ago," said Mayor Harold Rideau. "It's up to the council, whether they decide to vote on it."

But, the increase won't solve the money problem.  Higher costs for services would only cover the deficit by $600,000.

The plan calls for an average of $8 to $10 dollars a month increase.

People gathered, upset about the proposed changes.

"I can't see why Baker is in so much debt," James Waller, a resident, said. "Ain't nobody going to be able to live in Baker for that kind of money."

Others, believe the increases are inevitable.

"It's not going to be an option of what to increase," said John Abel. "Everything is going up."

The council will vote on the proposal at its next meeting, June 10.



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