SPRINGFIELD - Springfield commissioners are in a tough spot as they debate how much they should raise water and sewage rates. The city is currently in the hole for nearly half a million dollars.
"The water and sewer fees are supposed to be paying for themselves plus materials. When you start out in the hole, then the money has got to come from somewhere," said Springfield Mayor, Ralph Hammond.
Commissioners are proposing to raise rates by 25% or about $30 a month, which isn't sitting well with some officials who are worried about the elderly.
"They can't take it. I don't know when you're going to stop increasing the elderly and these people on fixed income. They don't get no increase every month," said Springfield Commissioner, Carl Curti.
Currently seniors receive a 10% discount off their bill.
"If you're able to do that and give them that, then you can increase that and that would help them then to just act as if it doesn't matter," said Curti.
Mayor Ralph Hammond pointed out the city hasn't raised rates in a while and the city's deficit is forcing these tough decisions.
"You know it's a concern for the commission. We don't do it very lightly. There's been a lot of discussions, a lot of talks. You know it's something we don't want to do, but we have to do," said Hammond.
Commissioners voted to tentatively approve the rate increase. They'll have to hold a public hearing before taking a final vote.
Residents should see a notice about the rate increase on their next water bill.
Springfield residents will also see their trash service bill increase slightly, about 32 cents per customer each month .