Bowie City Council has decided to reject the petition for utility rate hikes.
The city of Bowie approved utility rate increases in May, 2014. However, residents had filed a petition in opposition of those increases. The petition was turned in July 29.
It had 283 signatures for the proposed 2.5 percent water increase. And 271 signatures for the proposed 1.5 sewage water increase. Those hikes are for a three years time period each, meaning overall an 11 percent total utility increase.
The increase was brought forth on May 6, 2014. A second and final mention, and vote, was at a council meeting May 20th. The increases were approved, and published by May 24.
That was the day from which the petitioners had 30 days to come up with signatures. They needed 20 percent of the number of votes cast at the last regular municipal election. That number was 206.
After the collection of signatures, the petition was turned in July 29. That's 5 weeks after the initial 30 day deadline.
"We did not receive the draft of the proposed ordinance or resolution as required by the charter," said Gene Brown, Bowie Mayor.
The city has not raised water rates for 14 years, according to City Manager, Ricky Tow. The lack of increases is costing the city in the possibility of grants.
The state wants to see cities putting the burden on residents, said Tow. This is an attempt to get more money from within the city, while showing the state that the city is trying to generate funds, according to Tow.
"So we're trying to do something that shows that we have burdened the locals to be eligible for some of these grants and stuff that are out there," said Tow. "So we're trying to get money at the same token."
Rate increases will begin October 1, 2014. At the end of the three years Bowie residents will pay a total of $1.38 extra in residential water, and $1.58 for commercial.
Total additional costs for sewage water increases will be $0.65 for residential, and $0.92 for commercial. That means around $0.40 extra each year for water, and about $0.20 for sewer water.
"It will benefit the city quite a bit because you can't keep things the same year after year," said Brown. "We have been very skeptical about going up on anything and this rate increase is very minimal."