City of Buckeye votes to reduce some water rates, residents upset at how meeting was handled

Posted at 7:12 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 01:11:54-05

The problems keep flooding the residents of Buckeye. Many are still wondering why their bills are excessively high; some paying $400, $700, even up to $2,000. 

RELATED: Buckeye homeowners say they are drowning in sky-high water bills

On Monday, the city council held a special session to discuss water rates. Council members voted to maintain the current water rates for those who use less than 6,000 gallons a month and lowered the rates for residents who use more water.

But the vote over how much residents will pay in the future didn't at all address why some residents have seen a sudden spike costing, in some cases, hundreds of dollars more that months prior.

Two men were called up during the meeting's public comment period. Each praised the efforts of the city council during their allotted time. Others who showed up had intended to speak but were not allowed.

City officials had put out an earlier announcement asking those who wanted to speak to sign up, and thus did not include a general call for comment that is typical of most municipal meetings. A city representative afterward told those who were not allowed to speak they could return to have their voice heard.

A representative for the city says they're working their way through about 150 calls about water service to the hotline. About half have been resolved, many are being credited the increased costs. Some homes have been found to have water leaks. Other homes the city has not been able to find a cause for the water usage increase so it will have to wait to see if a spike happens again in the next billing cycles. 

But, now - besides a push for answers, some residents are pushing to recall the mayor with a new petition. 

"We're going to start at the top and go all the way to the bottom if we have to until we get a change," said Jeff Hancock.

Hancock is leading the charge, filing for the petition to recall Mayor Jackie Meck. His petition says Meck '"no longer holds the interest of the community as a priority." 

Hancock saw sky-high water rates himself and said he has not gotten any answers as to why and he is done waiting. 

"I think we need a change and I wish the city council and the mayor to see that," Hancock explained. "Because it's affecting everybody."

Hancock said he believes he will easily be able to get the roughly 1,700 signatures needed because of people like Sandra Walls. 

"I can't afford to live here anymore," Walls said. "Not with bills that can continue like that. I couldn't"

Walls has actually made up her mind and decided she has to move because of her water woes. 

"They've said, either I have a leak in my house or somebody is stealing my water," Walls said. "And it's like...It's just an excuse and that's all they tell you and they send you on your way."

And for Hancock, he said that the petition is a way the community can take action themselves. 

"They can be a part of this and make a change here in Buckeye because we've been trying to get the water fixed and we've gotten nowhere," Hancock said.