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Berlin Water Woes
A water rate hike in Berlin has many residents upset and asking the city to share more of the burden. Video by nbc26.comvideo
Residents of Berlin are about to get hit with a big water bill.
"Basically amounts to a 28% tax increase," says rental property owner Doug Coker.
The cause? A new radium treatment plant, required to get the city's water up to DNR water quality standards.
"It's huge, it's nothing that we budgeted for, this all came last minute," Coker says.
Along with the water rate hike comes an increase in fire protection fees, to the tune of more than $120,000 a year for the city. Adding up to an increase many residents like Sandi Lembke say they can't afford.
"First thing that went through my mind was panic I was going to lose my home, I'm a homeowner, I'm also on disability and I am below the poverty level."
"Fire protection was thrown in at the last minute, in the cloak of darkness," Coker adds.
Coker owns about 75 rental units in the city and says the city council should find ways to cut the budget, not burden the taxpayers.
"If they are passing fees because they can't raise taxes, then it's still an impact to us and the residents of the city."
NBC-26 spoke with the mayor and several members of the city council who did not want to go on camera, but the city administrator tells us the city is bound by the rules of the Public Service Commission and she says the fee increases are unavoidable.
Meaning the 5,000 plus residents of Berlin will be paying much more everytime they turn on the tap.