Deltona city leaders delay plan to hike water, sewage rates

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DELTONA, Fla. - A controversial plan to hike water and sewage rates in Deltona is on hold. Deltona residents fought the system Monday night and commissioners listened.

WFTV was there Monday night  as Deltona city commissioners decided to freeze rates for now, and not implement a 17 percent hike.

Residents in Deltona spoke out over the proposal to hike their water and sewage rates.  More than 100 people packed the city commissioner chambers to demand city leaders come up with a new plan.

The commissioners are trying to figure out what the next step is after dozens said the hike is too much money and it leaves some Deltona residents choosing between things like their medications and water. 

Commissioners decided to have a workshop to figure out what to do next.

"It is too much for a lot of people," said Betsy Eicher.

She has been a resident of Deltona for more than 20 years and she's never once worried about paying her water and sewer bill until recently.

"My water bill went from around $50 up to $125. Now would you like to pay my next one for me?" said Eicher.

Eicher's neighbor Jean Kellett said the increase would leave many of the elderly residents in the community to make tough choices.

"You give up something else or you don't get your medicine or something else, groceries," said Kellett. "They're on a fixed income and your income does not increase as you get older."

The hike was part of a schedule of increases, which began in 2008, although the increase was to be expected, resident said the plan needed to be revised.

Tom Premo dug into his files to show commissioners exactly how much his wallet's been hit over the years.

"Four and a half years ago it was $113, on this one it's $287," he said.

With his water and sewer bill more than doubling, he's afraid for all Deltona residents that this hike will be just too much.

"In the last five years we've dumped it on the citizens here and that's why we're having trouble in this town with people paying their rent and other bills," said Premo.