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Port Arthur residents face increase in their water bills

Port Arthur residents face increase in their water bills

Port Arthur residents are facing a hike in their water bills.

City officials say the fee increase is necessary to fix Port Arthur's aging water and sewer lines.

However, some taxpayers say a water bill hike now would create more hardship for a community still recovering after Tropical Storm Harvey.

But city officials say a break that citizens received in 2011 when city leaders cut the minimum usage fee to just a few cents is coming back to haunt the city.

Then, in 2014, the usage fee was raised to $5.

Officials say those lower fees in 2011 and 2014 did not generate enough money to maintain decaying infrastructure.

City council members will have the final say on the proposed water bill hike.

City officials say an increase is necessary to keep the water utilities department, which is drowning in debt, afloat.

They say a lack of revenue has created a $1.6 million deficit in the water utilities department, forcing officials to tap into its general fund to keep the water utilities department afloat.

The council is slated to meet to discuss the issue later this month (March).

KFDM/Fox 4's Angel San Juan has the report.

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