Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Maringouin residents shocked by abrupt utility bill increase

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MARINGOUIN - Sam Watson and his neighbors in Maringouin are talking about the shock they got when they opened this month's utility bill.

"Our bills have increased more than at 100 percent," Watson said. "I think all the citizens' bills have increased to that magnitude."

Tyese Givens says for as long as she can remember, her bill for gas, water and sewer has been $65 a month. But this month it was almost $120. 

"We are a family on fixed income," Givens said. "We have small children and we can't afford this."

Marigouin provides the utility service and residents say they were not given enough notice that their bills were going up.

The mayor of Meringouin, Demi Vorees was not available to give us an on-camera interview. But she did say that this is the first increase in utilities in 24 years. She says the Board of Aldermen have been discussing the issue in public meetings since January.

Vorees said the rate hike was necessary to keep from laying off some town workers.

Posted on the door of town hall is a message that reads: "Your utility bills will be going up this month due to increased cost." There is no date on the note.

"I did not get notice until the bill came out and it says 'Effective July 1, new rate increase,"" Givens said. "That was not on last month's bill or the bill before that."

Residents say they plan on packing the next town hall meeting to demand a justification to the rate increase.


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