Many of us throughout Franklin County recently voted for our choice of candidates in our respective precincts.

Comes now, however, a vote on an issue that’s imperative and should be of utmost importance to especially residential and commercial city customers concerning our pocketbooks (fixed incomes and otherwise) in reference to the city’s proposed exorbitant rate hike in the amount of 13.5 percent on water and sewer rates, plus a boost of $10.75 for residential, and $74.25 for commercial, on the sewer user fee. These increases are well beyond ridiculous and unbelievably absurd.

Our elected and oath-sworn individuals on the city commission of Apalachicola have a fiduciary responsibility of due diligence, exemplifying moral integrity, and in this case, fiscal management, to their respective customers.

The city not being able to borrow money, apply for grants or secure a decent loan reeks to high heaven of malfeasance, misfeasance and nonfeasance, and is not the customers’ fault and should not be our burden. It can be attributed, from the top down, to hose we elected to represent us, in at least a common sense professional manner. In addition, there is right, wrong and the truth, and the truth is there are no viable jobs in this economically depressed area, especially in the Hill black community, that can contribute or help to sustain such a rate increase. Like many of you, I have two bills – purchasing good, bottled drinking water and paying a monthly city bill. (My pets aren’t allowed to drink this water).

Let’s collectively show up on Sept. 25, the city budget hearing, and ask them to vote no regarding the proposed rate hike, and demand the state come in, audit and take over the finances of the city of Apalachicola, 50 years with no real city manager.

And in relation to H’COLA, I’m challenging H’COLA, reiterating your mantra “For the Betterment of the Hill.” If ever there was a time to strike, it’s now!. I’m personally challenging your organization to reach out to the pastors of the six or seven churches on the Hill. Get your spiritual leaders involved, and their congregations to descend, collectively and in solidarity, on City Hall, enjoining and saying no, opposing the city’s proposed rate hike on residents, especially on the Hill, and commercial customers, set for final commission vote on the budget set for Sept. 25.

Let’s live up to the “betterment” statement of H’COLA prayerfully and collectively, and take action against this atrocious rate increase. The residents on the Hill cannot afford it.

Let’s show up collectively and express our demands that the state “audit” and take over the finances of the city.

We all should welcome the true financial facts and results after 40-50 years of unprofessional management by the city of Apalachicola. Incompetence and our tax dollars have to be dealt with.

Sherman Thomas