ELTON, L.a. — Elton residents are paying more for their water and they're not happy about it.
They tell KATC they've seen their water bills double over the past year alone — and for some, it means extra pain in the pocket.
"It makes it hard to pay all the bills so it's a hardship," says Newton Abshire.
Newton and Helen Abshire have lived in the small town pretty much all their lives. Living in their current home since 1970, they say they've seen their bill for water alone go from $25 to more than $100 — even now when it's just the two of them. After a serious wreck leaving both unable to work, and Helen without her front teeth, money's been tight.
"It's hard to pay with what we're making a month, we're just on Social Security," Newton said.
"And the wreck completely destroyed my palate, so now I have to wait and pay for implants."
Then there's Jacques Chapman.
Living in the area since '06, he says his bills are hiked too — and he doesn't know why.
"I thought I might've had a leak somewhere so I had someone check and they said no leaks," Chapman said. "So it's not my house, it must be coming from somewhere else."
We took this issue to the town's Mayor Pro Tempore, Kesia Lemoine. She tells us the state is forcing the town to "keep up with the Joneses" after not going up on their water and sewage rates in at least the last decade. She notes, however, these changes didn't happen until August of this year.
Town records show drinking water now starts at $26 dollars for the first 2,000 gallons — with sewer sitting at $10 for the first 2,000 gallons. This is a change from what was most recently $15 for the first 2.000 gallons of drinking water and $5 for sewer.
Still, however, Lemoine says it's a price that has to be paid.
"I'm in the same boat as you, I have to pay the same rates, but in order for the Town of Elton to move forward, this is something we had to do," she said.
Another factor the town says it has to consider: grant money.
Lemoine says to be considered for state and federal grants of this variety, they've got to update the costs to be comparable to nearby towns and cities of similar size.
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