High Water Rates to Remain in Kermit, Officials Evaluating Options

High Water Rates to Remain in Kermit, Officials Evaluating Options

Brian Wise
NewsWest 9 

KERMIT- On Thursday in Kermit, many families say they will not be able to afford Christmas. It's all because of a higher water and sewage bill which was put into effect by the previous city manager. The City of Kermit has not yet made a decision to change the water rates. Many residents spoke at the special city hall meeting but didn't give their name.

"Where I work, I only get paid so much, and if my water bill takes more than half of my paycheck, then what am I gonna eat? How am I gonna pay the electricity? How am I going to pay the rest of the bills that I have?," a concerned resident, said.

People are shocked and angry at their city council for an increase they just didn't expect. Eddie Whitefield is worried for his community.

"I've heard from people on how it's going to affect their Christmas. And I'm here to beg you, or not beg you, but ask you as you represent the people of Kermit, to be considerate and come up with a reasonable plan so that these people can pay their bill," Whitefield said.

Kermit's Mayor Ken Mays realizes the concerns and tried to keep the meeting as civil as possible.

"I promise you that all of these members to my left and to my right and that one right there will take it into consideration what we are going to do. We cannot make a decision right now in front of you or with you. We'll discuss this and we will talk about it," Mays said to the residents in attendance.

City Manager Gloria Saenz told residents it would be until at least February until the water rates could be changed. But with the holidays, many people cannot wait that long.

Suzanne Smith is embarrassed by people's situation.

"Businesses will have to pass the increase on to their customers. Our haircuts, car wash, ice and any other service we receive will most likely increase. You've caused many undue stress in this. I am embarrassed that some of our citizens cannot buy medicine, groceries for their families because of this," Smith said.

Like other cities, Kermit residents include seniors on a fixed income, single parent families and many people with medical bills. Saenz told citizens at the meeting that city employees could work out a plan for people who cannot pay the new rates.