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Plymouth to see hike in water, sewer rates

If you’re living in Plymouth and plan on sticking around after the recent job losses, you’re looking at an increase of more than $10 a month come 2019.

“I went back and forth several times so it was a very very tough decision,” said Shiloh Milner, Plymouth councilwoman and business owner.

A tough call to make, that’s how Milner explains the decision-making process at Monday night’s Plymouth Common Council meeting. The council voted and approved raising water and sewer rates after two major food distributors shut down operations this year. Milner voted against the rate hike.

“I don’t know that we’ll get someone in where those factories have gone out. Ultimately I voted no and I feel good about that decision,” said Milner.

With more than 250 jobs lost in the town as a result of Del Monte and Treehouse Foods Inc. impending closures, residents will have to pay to cover for those losses; a total of about 200,000 in lost water revenue and approximately 800,000 in lost sewer revenue altogether.

The average resident will see a 12% water rate hike which will be an approximate $2.67 increase. Plus the sewer rate hike which will come in 3 phases. By the third phase which will come in March of 2019, the average resident will have to pay over $10 more than before.

“Senior citizens, people that are on a fixed income, people that budget a tight budget and live paycheck to paycheck. I think that’s going to hit them and I empathize with them. I own this building that we’re in, my water bill is quite a bit higher for the building. I’m going to take a bigger hit here,” said Milner.

Unless the town can spark some industry interest where those empty buildings will sit.

“Think about industry. Again, we’re trying to attract new tenants into these buildings that are going to be vacant, how do we attract these people when we’re raising our water rates. That’s a big concern for me, truthfully,” said Milner.

Councilman Don Ecker Jr., who voted for the rate hikes, says it still keeps Plymouth in the lower 1/3 of rates compared to other cities and he wants to continue to ensure that the process complies with state and federal regulations.

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