WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) - Melissa Holman thought someone made a mistake when she read her most recent water bill. That's because her bill nearly doubled. She said she thought, "There must have been a leak." Fellow Wetumpka resident Stephanie Pinkham thought the same thing.
When Pinkham and Holman called the Water Works and Sewer Board, they discovered the board had increased the rates. "This was not a five or ten percent increase; this was double," said Pinkham.
Wetumpka Water Works officials told WSFA 12 News that when Russell Corporation's Dyeing and Finishing plant shut down it lost more than 40% of its sales revenue. That made it necessary to raise the rates.
Calls have poured in to Mayor Jerry Willis' office. Even he didn't know about the increase before it happened. He told WSFA 12 News, "My wife explained it to me that our bill had gone up."
The Water Works and Sewer Board did put a notice about the increase in the newspaper, but residents we talked to said they never saw it. The board chairman said he wished they had more notice. So do residents; many have now reached their boiling point. "This is modern day version of taxation without representation. Wetumpka residents feel left out of the loop," said Pinkham.
Now, the board plans to hold a public forum on the matter. It's set to take place Monday at 6:30pm at the Wetumpka Civic Center.