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JEA customers' big payout to the city budget

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Updated: 8/23/2013 12:08 am
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville residents may or may not have noticed an annual increase in their water and sewer bills, but other fees are embedded in those bills.

The City of Jacksonville will see record numbers in the 2014 fiscal budget -- not in savings for the taxpayers, but in contributions from them.

"When it comes to JEA's budget, of course, we provide the city with approximately 24 percent of their operating budget," said JEA spokeswoman Gerri Boyce.

JEA customers have been forking out money to the city since 1979, and in 2008, they started paying a 3 percent franchise fee, too. According to JEA's annual numbers, both have progressively gone up.

"If you look at your bill, about ten percent of your bill is your public service tax, franchise fee and the city contribution is embedded in the rates," said Boyce.

Action News found out that contribution will increase $2.5 million dollars each year until 2016. It's more money one JEA customer tells us she doesn't have, because of the downturn of the economy.

"The pay is not going up, the hours are getting short, and there's no jobs. I think they need to think of another way to get the money besides using it for utilities," said Dinitra Williams.

One man we spoke to said he has only been a JEA customer for less than 24 hours, but tells us as long as the money goes to services like police and fire, he's OK with it.

"As everything else goes up up, eventually you gotta get the money from somewhere. The government is broke, and all the households are broke," said JEA customer, customer Chance Ryan.

After Thursday's meeting, city leaders will then vote on JEA's proposed budget, which should be included in the final fiscal budget due at the end of September.

For any customer that doesn't quite understand the contribution and fees, JEA tells Action News it has recently changed customers' statements to help them better understand where their money is going.
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