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Quincy residents left in dark after city increases utility taxes

Posted at 1:20 PM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 13:20:55-04

QUINCY, Fla. — Neighbors in Quincy are outraged after the city increases utility taxes, doubling the bills of some families.

"Can't afford a $500 utility bill," said Vivian Howard, a Quincy native. "If you've got children, you're getting ready to go back to school, what are they supposed to do? So now either we don't have medicine, we don't have food, we don't have clothes. Which thing do you want me to give up?"

Howard is one of many who've seen their utility bills spike.

During a commission meeting, Quincy City Commissioners voted 3-to-2 to increase utility taxes.

They say it's to make up for lost revenue from utility repairs following Hurricane Michael.

Commissioner Daniel McMillan, who voted against increasing the utility taxes, told WTXL:

"The city didn't look into the budget or make any cuts before voting on these changes. Instead they put additional costs on their citizens. I don't think it's fair. These residents are not in a position where they can afford additional costs."

"You could have found other ways to come up with these things or cut back on something that was unimportant. Take something out that you don't need," said Howard.

Instead, the board approved a budget which included giving themselves pensions and health insurance, and giving raises to the police chief and city manager, according to city commission agenda minutes.

Commissioner McMillan was the only one who said he did not want a pension at the cost of citizens.

WTXL reached out to city manager, Jack McLean, about the high utility costs. He told us people knew this was coming and had their chance to comment.

But when we asked why commissioners still voted to increase taxes despite neighbors speaking out against it, he didn't want to comment any further.