PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some local business owners told Philadelphia City Council today that recent big changes in their water bills is anything but water under the bridge — they say it may drive them out of the city.

Beginning last July, the city’s water department began phasing in a new way of charging local businesses for water.  The firms are going to be charged based on their estimated impact on storm water runoff and actual usage costs phased out.

Water commissioner Howard Neukrug told Council it is actually a more fair system.  But owners like Stuart Parment, of American Box and Recycling Corporation, said his is among one thousand firms that will pay more — much more.

“This tax of a $40,000 increase per year, without any discussion, is outrageous,” Parment said on Tuesday.

Other speakers called the increases they face “devastating,” and said they’re being forced to consider leaving the city.

Reported by KYW City Hall Bureau chief Mike Dunn.

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