It was standing room only in the Sumner city council’s chambers Monday as dozens of residents showed up to voice their disapproval of a utility rate increase the council approved in May. Several people saying they weren’t aware of the change that these bills are unaffordable.
"We should have had flood insurance to begin with! There was no flood insurance on that property!" yelled one woman at the Sumner city council during the public input portion of Monday night’s meeting.
Citizens are upset over a rate increase on their utility bills, that is trying to put away money to build a new electricity plant after the current one has seen repeated damage from flooding over the last few years. Many residents say their bill doubled in costs.
"We’ve got people all over town here with 6-700 utility bills, I’ve seen a couple eight hundred dollars utility bill, its as much as these people’s mortgage. How can you afford that?" said Sumner resident Adam Berkes.
Others say they’re upset the public didn’t get a chance to weigh in.
"You don’t just do something on the opinion of 3 people, at the very least you take it to the public and say this is what we’re wanting to do, we’re wanting to relocate the light plant, here are your options," said Jake Spiegel of Sumner.
"People take it as a personal issue, and they should its their finances, but it was never intended that way," said Mayor Dave Waskow. "You have to make decisions for the best of everyone."
After the meeting a woman handed KWWL articles she took from the city’s newspaper, the Sumner Gazette, where the rate increase was announced. In those articles, an operations manager for the Sumner Municipal Light Plant gave an estimate residents could see under a new rate increase. saying a single person could see an increase of $15 a month and a couple about $24 a month.
The conversation is expected to continue next Monday at another city meeting.