By Jeff Todd
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) - A water rate increase in Westminster has some residents outraged.
"We all know we live in the high plains of Colorado, it is dry here, and without water, no, it's not green," said Bruce Baker.
The rate increase would be put toward $120 million in improvement projects. The City of Westminster is proposing a net-average 10 percent increase to water rates.
For about 88 percent of the city that means an increase of about $11 a month. But for people like Bruce Baker the increase is crippling.
"In July, I used 61,000 gallons of water. I paid a bill of $477 dollars. That same bill in 1999 was $207. And if this rate goes through if I use the same 61,000 gallons I will have to pay about $720," Baker said.
Baker is a former city councilor and is now running for a house seat against a current city councilor. He also admits he uses a lot of water for his large lot in the northern stretches of the city.
"We like the flowers. Not only do they add something to us, but they add something to our neighborhood. I think the neighbors like the flowers as they drive by," he said.
About 30 people spoke against the rate increase on Monday night at a city council meeting. The rate increase was approved and faces a second reading and approval on Oct. 8.
One city official says the rate increase means large water users will pay their fair share. Baker says it's an astronomical rate compared to other water utilities in the area.
"A lot of other people in Westminster have dreams and their dreams are in their house and in their flowers and in their green grass. And this is going to dry the city out," he said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he's been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.
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