JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. — In a called meeting on Tuesday, Johnsonville officials voted unanimously to move forward with a plan to secure a loan for a $2.1 million municipal complex.

The complex was approved in August and it was hoped that construction would begin Oct. 1, with completion in eight to nine months, according to the minutes of the August meeting, available online at the city’s website.

Additionally, on Tuesday night, two residents appeared before council members, the city administrator, and the mayor to complain about their high utility bills. Barbara Black and Willa Vicks each said their home water, sewer and sanitation bills have nearly doubled since the city has implemented its rate increase, effective July 1.

That rate increase, Administrator Jim Smith said in a letter to residents that is also posted on the city website, was based on “a cost of service (rate) study,” performed by the city’s rate consultant. A public hearing about the rates and several notifications were sent to residents, he said.

Vicks said every check she has made makes it seem she does not have a leak at her house, though she is unable to afford a full search of buried lines.

Mayor Steve Dukes said he also experienced an increase a water bill to a house that is not his primary residence, so he understands everyone’s concerns. But a leak was discovered there.

The city will have a called meeting Thursday at 11 a.m. The meeting is to confirm and ratify the articles of incorporation, approve bylaws for, and approve and adopt the conflict-of-interest and compensation policy for the city to create the Johnsonville Public Facilities Corporation to oversee the municipal bond for the upcoming facilities improvement, Mayor Dukes said.

Also during the meeting city officials are expected to adopt a resolution to authorize the revenue bond with BB&T, and authorize the “execution of a base lease agreement and a facilities purchase and occupancy agreement” between the Johnsonville Public Facilities Corporation and the city of Johnsonville.

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