Big Bills

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More than 200 homeowners in Bayside Mobile Home park are reeling from the effects of a rate hike just now showing up in their utility bills.

Rod Smith lives in Bayside and says even with the warning, he couldn't believe the bill.

"Actually, I got the last bill. I believe it was $124 and normally here it's about $55."

Utilities Inc. is responsible for the water and sewer in Bayside and also at Sandy Creek. They told NewsChannel seven the rate hike was necessary. The Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities for the state, approved of the hike.

County Commissioner Cornel Brock says this is when the county needs to rally in support of this community.

"One small voice doesn't mean a lot, but for the county to ignore a situation where the citizens are really being abused that wouldn't be a fair thing to do."

The county unanimously approved a motion asking the county attorney to look at rescinding authority from the PSC, even looking at what it would take to remove Utilities Inc. from Bayside.

Leanard Jeter, the general manager of the park, says they hope change will come soon to the relief of many homeowners.

"Now we're simply asking the Bay County Commission to continue to help us as they have already and we're very enthused about their support so far.”

Smith agrees, saying some just can't afford the extra cost.

"We've got a lot of folks out here on fixed income, we've got a lot of people out here that don't have much income, unfortunately, and they can't afford $124 water bill."

But for now Bayside residents will have to write a larger check this month if they want to keep their water and sewer unless they move to the next development.