LORAIN, Ohio — A showdown at the last Lorain City Council meeting of the year.
"A lot of folks cannot deal with these high bills," said one Lorain resident.
Residents packed the building, many of them to voice frustrations about their water and sewer bills and the new fees city council is proposing.
"My water bill runs about $270 a month for three people," said Victoria Kempton.
Kempton has been living in Lorain for 10 years. She says her water bills just keep creeping up.
"It's just unreasonable to expect poor, disabled, seniors to pay those rates. They will leave," she said.
She started a Facebook group a few days ago where residents are sharing their water bill nightmares.
"Heartbreaking story after heartbreaking story of people losing their homes. moving out, having to move in with relatives, having water disconnected. It's humiliating," said Kempton.
City council is proposing to increase the "off and on" charge (an emergency shut off situation) from $25 to $50.
If your water gets turned off for lack of payment, and you want it turned back on during regular hours, that fee will go from $25 to $50.
If it's after hours, instead of $45 you're looking at $100.
Lots of other charges are staying the same.
"This is minor compared to what the rates are. No questions about that, none of us are happy about that," said Lorain Mayor Joe Koziura.
Koziura says he knows the bills are too high, but says they need to raise the fees because the local government's hands are tied.
"Now there's all these mandates but no money from Washington or Columbus and that's not fair," he said.
The ordinance didn't get enough votes to pass Monday night, it will go on to a second reading.