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Water Utility employee reports being harassed on job because of possible rate increase

May 24, 2018 GMT

A Madison Water Utility employee called police Wednesday morning to report being harassed by a man upset about a possible water rate increase.

The incident happened at an East Side well facility, officials said.

“Someone approached the employee outside the well and began cursing and harassing the employee, refusing to leave,” said utility spokeswoman Amy Barrilleaux. “The man appeared to be upset about a potential increase in water rates.”

The utility has applied for a 32 percent rate increase, the largest in the utility’s history. The request is before the state Public Service Commission. Public hearings are planned, and a decision won’t be made until this fall.

The water utility also is trying to find savings and get a city loan to cover a $6 million shortfall in 2017.

“It’s true water rates could increase $5 to $9 a month this fall, but we ask people to respect our employees, who have important work to carry out,” Barrilleaux said.

A check of police incident reports didn’t indicate an arrest was made.