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LaFayette to vote on utility bill amendment

LaFAYETTE — LaFayette City Council met Monday, Feb. 12, and discussed high utility bills that have plagued the community.

A crowd of 15 filled the small council meeting room as citizens came to express their concerns over February’s utility prices.

Martha Laye, longtime citizen of the LaFayette community, said the bills have doubled and in some cases tripled.

“I can speak for myself when I say that my thermostat doesn’t move but my bill does,” Laye said. “These utility bills are something we have never seen before. We understand bad weather but there could be more bad weather making the bill even higher. This isn’t just a one parent or two parent household issue, it’s the elderly, the single, all of us.”

Mayor Barry Moody conceded that this was an area-wide problem.

Because of the number of concerns council collected random samples of March utility bills and ensured citizen’s prices are expected to be considerably lower.

“We all have friends and I have daughters who have seen a spike,” Moody said, “Those bills we looked at saw a decline by 25 to 40 percent so we aren’t looking at maintaining the same rate or any increase.”

Moody also said the council attorney will be looking into amending an ordinance that would move the bill due date from the 15th of each month to the 21st to allow those on fixed incomes time to pay their bills.

“With this amendment you would have your February check that you normal pay your bill with and if you had to use some of your March check to help out then you would have that available to you,” Moody said. “However, this isn’t just something we are looking at to help with this bill, but with those future as well.”

The amendment would be temporary for February and March bills.

“We will not be cutting off resident’s power,” Councilwoman Tammie Williams said.

Council has called a meeting in the council chambers Friday, Feb. 16, at 11:30 a.m. to vote on the amendment.

The public is encouraged to attend.