WJTV News Channel 12 - Kinston City Council approves budget that includes utility rate

Kinston City Council approves budget that includes utility rate hike

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The city of Kinston is proposing a 15% increase in water fees, a $0.50 cent increase in storm water fees, and a 4% sales tax increase on electricity. The city of Kinston is proposing a 15% increase in water fees, a $0.50 cent increase in storm water fees, and a 4% sales tax increase on electricity.
KINSTON, N.C. - The Kinston City Council has voted in favor of the recommended budget that raises water fees and increases sales tax on electricity.

Kinston Mayor BJ Murphy says the council voted 2-2 and he broke the tie in favor of the recommended budget as presented by the Kinston City Manager. The final budget hearing was held at 5:30 Monday in City Hall.

Last week the city said they delayed increases in the past, thinking Duke Energy would come in and purchase their assets, but the city's mayor said they cannot wait any longer.

The budget proposal includes a 15% increase in water fees, a $0.50 cent increase in storm water fees, and a 4% sales tax increase in electricity.

Mayor Murphy said in a statement after the meeting, “Unfortunately, we have three options and neither one will make sleeping tonight easier. We can raise a utility rate with the hope of a future decrease, we can raise property tax rates by 5.71 cents, which will never decrease, or we can drastically and negatively affect the momentum we’re gaining in service quality, street resurfacing, planning and quality of life.”

To read Mayor BJ Murphy’s full statement click here.

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The city of Kinston is proposing a 15% increase in water fees, a $0.50 cent increase in storm water fees, and a 4% sales tax increase on electricity.

The city will hold its final budget hearing on Monday, June 16 at 5:30 in City Hall.

The city said they delayed increases in the past, thinking Duke Energy would come in and purchase their assets, but the city's mayor said they cannot wait any longer.

"I can tell you that our infrastructure needs are in the tens of millions of dollars versus the little bit of rate increase that we're going to see to impact those," said Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy. "It helps a little bit, but it's certainly not enough to get us where our electric system needs to be to make sure we have a reliable grid every day."

Some residents in Kinston are complaining their bill are all ready too high.

Patricia Forebush, who lives on the Kinston electrical grid, told 9 On Your Side her bills have varied between $176 and $650 per month over the past two years.

"We've replaced our doors, we've replaced our windows to provide more insulation," Forebush said. "We even replaced our heat pump. How much higher can our bills go?"

Any increase that is approved would go into effect on July 1.


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