LAUREL HILL — The City Council will soon issue a 90-day notice of a public hearing to discuss an impending increase in water rates.

Laurel Hill is taking its cue from a water study issued by Bob Mearns of the Florida Rural Water Association, who provided two long-term financial plans to gradually increase water rates. Options include a three-year and a five-year plan. 

City Councilman Scott Moneypenny said the five-year plan would take “way too long” and said he would like Mearns to come to a future meeting to discuss his financial proposals. 

Moneypenny also said he wanted to be careful about how the council decides to implement the increase.

City Council members, he said, “want to be sensitive to these increases and do it over time.”

Laurel Hill's water system operates at a deficit of $86,037, which represents a 43 percent income shortfall, according to a report from the Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project.

Customers in the city limits could receive a $2.50 base increase and $3.25 increase in cost per 1,000 gallons. Those outside the city could see a $2.50 base increase and a $3.30 increase in the cost per 1,000 gallons, according to the report.