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Council makes right choice on senior discount

On Monday night, the LaGrange City Council officially approved updates to its utility discount program for seniors and also discussed a savings program that could further lower rates.

The council approved higher utility rates in May, and one of the first concerns was for residents on a fixed income, such as senior citizens. The rate increase is minimal, with monthly bills going up around $3 for electricity and $3 for gas.

However, as councilman Jim Arrington correctly pointed out, an increase of a couple of dollars can be a big deal to anyone without extra money to spare. The discount would likely cost the City of LaGrange around $43,000 a year, which is a significant amount of money, but we’d say it’s well worth it.

The planning portion of the Pay As You Save program (PAYS) was also approved and, if fully implemented, could serve as another way to save money on utility bills in the future. The program would help low-income residents save money on their bills by improving the efficiency of their homes, and then they’d pay it back on the utility bills in the months ahead. However, residents would not pay back more than they save each month, though bill totals could still be higher in cases of extreme weather.

The council has received backlash for raising rates, although they remain below the state of Georgia average. Sitting in a leadership position is never easy, and no one is going to cheer for paying more on their anything, especially their utility bill.

However, it’s clear the council has the best interest of citizens in mind and is looking at creative ways to lower bills for those who need the help.