EMILY GUEVARA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Liberty Utilities customers in Tyler and Smith County who have questions and/or concerns about the proposed rate increases for wastewater service will have two opportunities to attend town hall meetings in the coming weeks.
Both meetings will be at the Faulkner Park Police Substation, which is located near the intersection of Cumberland Road and Park Road in Tyler.
The first meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, and is for customers who live inside and outside the city limits.
The city of Tyler is putting on this meeting and the following people are expected to attend: Tyler Mayor Martin Heines, Tyler City Councilman John Nix, Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran, Smith County Commissioner Jeff Warr, city of Tyler Development Manager Greg Morgan and a representative from state Rep. Matt Schaefer's office.
People will be on hand to help customers fill out protest forms if they have not already done so.
The second meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, and is for customers who live outside Tyler city limits.
Local leaders are expected to attend, and organizers are trying to arrange for a representative from the Office of Public Utility Counsel to attend.
That office will provide legal representation to affected residents and small business owners outside city limits in this rate case.
These meetings are in response to Liberty Utilities proposing rates that would more than triple some customers' monthly bills for wastewater service by next March.
The company, which operates as Woodmark Sewer and Tall Timbers Sewer in Smith County, is justifying the change by citing increased operating expenses and past and future capital improvement projects.
Liberty Utilities serves almost 3,800 customers in Smith County - about 500 of those in Tyler - through Liberty Woodmark and Liberty Tall Timbers.