Memphis, TN (abc24.com) - A City Council smackdown over Memphis Light Gas & Water's bid to raise water rates by 5 percent.
The Memphis City Council vocally rebuked the move on Tuesday night. The hike had been practically routine in years past.
"At some point, MLGW has to have the same introspective look at how they are doing business," said Kemp Conrad, Memphis City Council member. "We are close to the death spiral."
It all started when Jerry Collins, MLGW President and CEO, gave a presentation to the council on the proposed rate hike.
"This rate increase is 48 cents a month, which is what you find in the couch cushions." said Collins.
"I understand you can find the 48 cents in the couch, unless you've already sold that or it has been taken back because you couldn't make the payments on it," said Memphis City Council member Bill Morrison.
MLGW says the rate rejection will cost it nearly $4 million.
"Memphis Light Gas and Water probably needs to do some soul-searching in house and figure out how to reduce that 5 percent," Morrison said.
From there, the council started debating a recent move by the utility company to give employees a 1 percent raise.
"I could not sleep at night knowing MLGW employees received a raise, city employees took a decrease, a cut," said Memphis City Council member Berlin Boyd.
The City Council asked MLGW to come back in 2 weeks with a new budget.