New water and wastewater rates for the next five years will go into effect July 1.
The El Centro City Council on Wednesday unanimously approved the new rates to modernize its aging water treatment and wastewater treatment facilities.
The rates for water will increase 8 percent yearly while wastewater treatment fees will increase 6 percent yearly.
For Gil Pérez, president of United Taxpayers of Imperial County, both increases are too much.
Pérez pointed out that 46 percent of El Centro residents are low-income or very low-income and many are on fixed incomes. He said those people will have a hard time paying the higher rates and will likely purchase less food or medicine to do so.
"How can you justify rate increases to them?" he said.
Pérez asked if there was some way to make the increased costs more palatable, and that the increases are more than 6 and 8 percent because of compounding; that is this year's rate will increase 6 and 8 percent, but the following years' rates increases will include previous rate increases.