BYRAM, MS (WLBT) - To the surprise of many Byram residents their water bills have skyrocketed overnight. It's affecting anyone living within one mile of the Jackson city limits. The city of Jackson was charging $1.43 per 100 cubic feet of water. Not any more. The new charge is $4.40 for the same volume of water.
That has many homeowners steaming and worried. When Leslie Cole and her neighbors opened their water bills they were caught off guard . "What did you think when you opened it? "I thought what the heck." The city of Jackson doubled the cost of water. "Our bills were normally $20-22 a month and it's been that way for the last 7 years. Then all of a sudden my bill jumped up to $102.08," according to Cole.
Jackson sent out letters back in October forewarning water bills would be going up based on 1972 legislation. It stated consumers one mile outside the corporate limits will be charged double. Byram says there is nothing they can do. "Just because this is a law does not make it right to charge people double in addition to the rate being double the service charge is also doubled," saysGeraldine Chambers/McGee.
Jackson is also tacking on a service charge if residents use over 600 cubic feet of water. While residents of the Capitol city pay $13.20 for more, Byram residents are charged double that as well $26.40. "They are having a hard time paying there water bills I'm sure especially the widowed and other people out there on fixed incomes."
With a water bill higher than most of their monthly utility expenses, the seniors sitting at the round table expressed concern, worry about being able to pay bills on fixed incomes. D.L. Ware who has lived in Byram since 1998 commented about his current bill, "$80 its gone up 400%, and that's hard for you. It certainly is for water."T
These by ram residents tell us they will be forced to cut water consumption back, and vow to fight the rate increase. A petition is circulating and lawmakers have been contacted. If you are affected by the water rate increase and want to protest it this is a link to a petition.