"There's no way we can pay this"; Folks in Martin County struggle to make ends meet after water rate hike

MARTIN COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - A recent report suggests water is unaffordable for 46% of people in Martin County.

Folks there have the eighth-highest average water bill in the state.

Many people are feeling this hike as penny-pinching becomes an everyday task.

"We're on a fixed income and that makes it hard to pay," said Ruth Kirk.

Ruth and her husband Gary live in Warfield.

She told WYMT with the rising water and sewage bills, every cent saved becomes more important.

"You have to sort of choose what you're paying grocery wise, medicine wise, just basic everyday needs," Ruth pointed out.

The couple said they struggle like many of their neighbors.

"The water bill, if paid by 10-20-2019, it's $352.15," Ruth said.

Their sewer bill is even higher with a $435.39 price tag.

"We do not have a leak. We do not have a pool. We don't have anything like that, that should be using 19,000 gallons of water," Ruth explained.

Gary is a busy man.

"I take care of my dad who has dementia and I take care of my mom who has Parkinson's," he explained.

Now he is worried about the future of his family.

"You wonder what's going to happen to them and what's going to happen to your family and how you are going to make it," said Gary. "Everybody is going to have to go to the river and either get buckets like in the old days because you can't afford your regular water."

Martin County District commissioners claim the district could receive a $10 rate increase.

If they were to receive this rate increase, the county would have the highest average water bill in the state.

After this story aired, Ruth told WYMT someone else checked under their house for leaks but did not find any plausible cause. However, the person said their meter may be "messed up."