AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) — Leaders in Aiken are taking a look at possible price hikes for water bills.

“The rate increase is just entirely too much being on fixed income that doesn’t work,” Tammy Campbell told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk about the possible changes. She’s one of the residents a possible water and sewer fee increase will affect in Aiken. “It’s nothing we undertake lightly,” city manager Stuart Bedenbaugh added.

The proposed seven percent rate increase will help with maintenance and preparation for constructing a new multi-million dollar water plant. The current facility is outdated. “In order to keep up with preventative maintenance and to prepare ourselves to begin construction of a water plant, we need to do some rate increases over the next few years,” Bedenbaugh shared.

City leaders are also considering raising fees collected from garbage, yard debris, and recycling to $4.83 due to rising costs. It “will enable us to operate effectively from this point forward, going ahead over the next few years to maintain our level of service, have appropriate levels of staffing,” he said.

Any change will go through the City Council. The public will also have a chance to voice their opinion. Meanwhile, Campbell says another option should be considered. “The city needs to find another way to accommodate what the citizens need to make things better,” she said. “Then maybe people could afford to pay more money, but as it stands, people can’t afford to pay the money and deal with the city and their increases,” she added.