CENTER POINT -- When residents of Center Point recently opened their water bills, a note was included from council members.
The note explained how the town had implemented a $5 administrative fee on water accounts and an additional administrative fee of $5 for sewer accounts.
However, the letter also explained that on Sept. 10, the city of Brazil had conducted a meeting with surrounding towns they supply water to, including Center Point, Harmony, Carbon and Knightsville.
The letter explained to residents that at the meeting, town officials were notified the City of Brazil was raising water rates for city residents by 87 percent and water rates in the surrounding towns would increase by 166 percent.
According to the letter, the annual average amount of water Center Point purchases for use from Brazil is $18,855.
However, after the rate increase, which will take effect in 2009, the same amount of water will cost Center Point $50,220.
After thorough review, Center Point council members and town clerk-treasurer Roger Campbell deduced Center Point Waterworks could not absorb the 166 percent increase, leaving the town no choice but to increase customer rates.
The letter indicated Center Point council members intended to be at the Brazil City Council meeting at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 14, to express concerns.
Campbell told The Brazil Times the purpose of the letter was to inform Center Point water customers of the increase and "to break the news more gently."
"It was just an informational letter so people might not be shocked when they started getting bills," Campbell said.
Campbell said after Center Point residents received the letter, the overall sentiment was "concern."
"There was a feeling of how the other towns were being put upon for improvements Brazil City has to make," he said. "But since we do buy our water from (Brazil), at this point, we don't have a choice. We're reliant on (Brazil) at this time for water."
Campbell said the town began purchasing its water from Brazil in 1968.
At the town's council meeting Tuesday, several residents expressed their concern.
"We are water customers also," Council President Roy Smith said. "We are also going to feel it."=