WITN: Kinston Mayor-State Bill To Change Water Rates “Picks On” His City

by Brittany Creamer/April Davis

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A state house vote has been postponed to decide if some City of Kinston water and sewer customers will pay more. Kinston Mayor B.J Murphy says the issue was pulled from the North Carolina House of Representatives agenda Monday night and placed back in the rules committee.

Mayor Murphy says he is not happy about the state picking on his city when it operates like 99 % of all other cities in the state. Murphy says if this bill passes, customers who live in the Kinston city limits will pay more because the bill requires equal rates for all customers instead of the usual billing practice to charge customers outside the city limits more.

Lenoir County republican representative Stephen Laroque drafted the bill. He told WITN the City of Kinston is discriminating against the consumer. Mayor Murphy says the proposed 12% increase for water and 7% increase for sewage would be a huge increase on local businesses and a deterrent for large companies. Murphy says Sanderson Farms’ yearly bill would increase by $90,000. The mayor says customers in the city should not be penalized for people outside city limits requesting to use its resources.

“The practice of extending water and sewage is not something we do unless it is requested from us and it does cost more to service from outside the city limits. It just does,” said Murphy.

Asheville is the only municipality in the state that charges equal rates for people inside and out of city limits.