November 18, 2004 – Posted at 2:30 p.m. CST
CRITTENDEN COUNTY -- Opening a bill isn't one of the most pleasant things we do in life, but we generally look at the amount, send the check and forget about it...well, most of the time.
Some Region 8 residents in one Marion neighborhood are seeing red after receiving their October water bill. Landlords at the Lakeshore Estates are meeting in the street to discuss one issue.
"The water rates just went out of sight," said Ed Armstrong, property owner.
The water bill for September at 59 Estate Drive was almost $35 dollars. In October, it jumped to $569.17. The bill at 25 Birch Lake Cove usually runs around $35 a month but it jumped to $88. However, sewage is included in these amounts.
Water for the community is provided by Lakeshore Water Company, which gets its water from West Memphis Utilities.
A representative for the company stated, "We have not increased our rates in over 20 years. However, over the past few months we have received high water bills from the West Memphis Utility Company. We contacted them and found out that they increased our rate by 32% without telling us. Now we're just passing on the increase."
Some residents did receive notification of the 32% rate increase, after they received their bill. One resident was shocked to receive the increase in a letter postmarked November 2. But even with the letter in hand, these property owners don't want to hear it.
"They didn't go up 32% they went up a lot more than 32 %," said Rhonda Griffith, "It's hard for me to pass these bills on to my renters and if I make them pay they'll move out and so then this will be abandon eventually."