I-Team: Businesses Reeling from Water Rate Hike - 8 News NOW

I-Team: Businesses Reeling from Water Rate Hike

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LAS VEGAS -- The Southern Nevada Water Authority Board decided to revisit controversial rate hikes sooner than originally planned after small business owners told board members recent hikes unfairly target them.

Every SNWA meeting is now filled with business owners protesting rate hikes. Board members themselves say they are just now learning how their rate hike vote effected businesses.

Most businesses have emergency fire hose pipelines that used to be paid by developer's connection fees. With no one developing anymore, the SNWA says they need somebody to pay up.

The board voted to pass the cost onto businesses as an "infrastructure charge," but small business say they can't bear the increased water bills -- almost four times as high in some circumstances.

One daycare owner says the water bills and decreased state funding may force her to close.

"Where we're located here in the City of North Las Vegas,  I can't pass that on to my parents. They can't afford it," said Alisa Sigman, owner of Watch Me Grow Daycare Center.

The only hope for those business owners is a new task force meeting within weeks. There is no guarantee for any changes because the SNWA says they only likely option is to increase every homeowner's bill instead.

The water authority board had plenty of questions for SNWA Director Pat Mulroy, but she was at a water conference in Europe.

The water authority says her trip to Paris was not paid by SNWA ratepayers.

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