Mayor John Robert Smith said he vetoed a budget approved by the Meridian City Council because it did not include an increase in water rates he says is absolutely needed and is relatively minor.
Smith used a chart to show a portion of water bills is the $10 per month fee for garbage collection.
"If your present water and sewer bill is, which is your total bill minus your garbage is $10, under the 8 percent increase you're going to pay two cents a month extra on water and sewer," said Smith. "Not two cents for water and two cents for sewer but two cents total. If you have a $30 water bill, which means if you add your garbage it would be $40, thirty of it is water and sewer, you're going to pay $1.62 a month extra. That's $15, $16 a year."
Smith signed a veto of a pay raise because he claims it is actually an attempt to give city employees merit pay raises.
"I've asked council to pass a two percent pay raise for every employee that has a satisfactory evaluation," said the mayor. "I've asked them to then add up to one percent per department in pay raises for those who have given the city exceptional service."
The council will have to act on the budget veto Monday by either overriding it or voting to approve another version. By state law, the 2003 budget must be approved and in place before Oct. 1.