City Council committee says no to MLGW rate hike

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A City Council committee decided not to approve MLGW's proposed 22 percent increase in water rates.

The full City Council will vote on the issue in two weeks.

The increase is being sought to raise more than $17 million.

That money is to cover the loss of Cargill, MLGW's biggest customer.

Cargill closed its plant at the end of 2014 and accounted for 5.08 percent of water sales, according to MLGW.

MLGW sought a water bill increase of 2.3 percent in November 2014 but was denied by the council.

MLGW said the 22 percent increase would only raise resident utility bills by 1.2 percent.

The price hike may also seem bigger than it really is, MLGW representative Jerry Collins said.

"It's only a lot because our water rates are so low," he said.

Water rates for MLGW are consistently among the lowest in the state.