A collective sticker shock will most likely be prevalent this month as Kinston residents open their utility bills.
The city approved rate hikes of 20 percent for water, 15 percent for sewer and 1 percent for electricity.
The city defaulted on bonds at the end of the 08, 09 fiscal year because of higher utility purchase costs and the loss of Smithfields Vernon Avenue Plant as a customer.
If it defaults again for this fiscal year, Kinston could be sanctioned by the state local government commission.
Mayor B.J. Murphy said his choices were to raise rates now, or cut expenses and raise rates in July.
Residents like Dawson who are currently not living inside city limits but have been annexed are worried about rates rising in the future.