Georgetown utility bills increase 17%: ‘it’s outrageous’

Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 10:52 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 13, 2023 at 5:15 AM EDT
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GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - The city of Georgetown has raised utility fees by 17% after almost a decade of not raising rates, but some residents are still upset about the spike.

The 17% utility fees increase in the city includes city water, sewer, sanitation, stormwater and electric service fees, except stormwater, which is increased by 9.97%

The rate adjustment went into effect on July 1, but members of the Georgetown community received the bills just last week.

“That’s ridiculous, on a poor man’s salary too,” Georgetown resident, Diane Wilson, says.

Carol Jayroe became Georgetown’s Mayor a year and a half ago, and first performed a utility audit since the city’s rates had not been raised since 2010.

“The Craftsman that was looking at that asset asking, ‘How old is this system?’ 25 years old? What’s the life of this system? 10 years,’” Jayroe says. “That’s what happens when you don’t maintain your systems; we have to raise rates in order to be able to maintain the systems that we have, and we don’t have disasters happen.”

Community members say with inflation and the current pay in America, paying the increased rate is difficult.

“I think it’s outrageous. How are people supposed to live? I mean, everything’s outrageous like rent right now,” Wilson says. “It’s awful; people shouldn’t have to live like that.”

Although Jayroe says how necessary the increased rate is for the city, residents reacted on social media by saying how they felt the percentage was far too large.

“It hurts, I hate it. We all are experiencing it in one way or another. People aren’t in a good mood about that, and I can’t blame them,” Jayroe says. “We had to do what we had to do to keep this city fiscally responsible, and that’s my job.”

One solution if you need help paying your utility bills in Georgetown is the round-up program where neighbors can help the less fortunate pay their bills.

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