Time to pay the piper for water service

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The time comes to bite the bullet and realize the free ride is over. I refer to the announcement by the town of Mount Olive that residents will most likely see another water rate hike.

Folks always complain about their water bill, but what they don’t tell you is the bill also includes sewer service and trash pickup. The real story is Mount Olive’s water rates to its customers are the cheapest in the entire state when compared to towns its size.

The 5 percent rate hike town officials say may be coming in July with adoption of a new budget will actually mean about a hike of $2.80 per month per average household.

Providing water is not cheap, but it is essential. It’s much more important that television, cellphone service and other perks. Try getting along without water, and the $2.80 per month jump in your bill will be welcomed.

It has been a free ride for too many years, and now is the time to pay the price.

Previous town boards failed to approve water rate increases, particularly during election years. They failed in their responsibility to do what was best for the entire town.

In a conversation the other day with the town manager, he said it all in declaring, “You know, I have a lot of respect for this town board and the mayor for their willingness to raise water rates during an election year.”

He told me the current board has it together in moving ahead and doing what needs to be done. Also, I may add that for years and years the town’s Board of Commissioners has sided with special interests and denied any effort at affordable housing here.

It is an issue on the table now and with much interest I look to see how this board handles it.

Affordable housing is most likely the No. 1 need in the town of Mount Olive if it intends to meet the needs of growth in the days ahead.

Plans are on the table for a major one-, two- and three-bedroom housing complex just north of town. Rental rates will range from $400 to $1,000 a month.

I am betting town officials this time will not side with special interests and go ahead and do the only thing to be done: say yes. Yes, and welcome to Mount Olive.

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