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Can't afford increase

According to a recent report in the Republican, Chicopee's unemployment rate is 12.6% , but that does not include all those unfortunate enough to have had their benefits expire. The true rate is probably closer to 25% almost equal to that of the Great Depression! The city still maintains a large "rainy day" fund. Wow! It's not raining, it's pouring! On top of the fact that over 3,500 residents don't have jobs, and the weekly Republican lists home after home in Chicopee being foreclosed, the Water Department and mayor are "spinning" the need to increase rates $ 60 per household the fiscal year starting in July, and another $ 65 the next fiscal year. The cost works out to only $1.25 per week the first year, and another $ 1.15 per week the second, for a total two year fee increase of just $ 2.40 weekly. Only? For those without a job and for the many seniors on fixed incomes, this is a major blow to their already strapped wallets. The City Council must not approve these increases until every possible dollar of free cash and the stabilization fund is used to offset the increases. To allow these increases might be fiscally responsible in view of the EPA task thrown at the city by the federal government, but to expect the unemployed and seniors on fixed incomes to absorb such increases is morally irresponsible. Jim Raschilla Chicopee
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