Lodi Residents, Mayor in War of Words Over Utility Rates

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LODI --

Since March of this year, Susan Rabusin of Lodi has crunched the numbers of her rising utility bill.

She’s cut corners but nothing has added up. After her mounting frustration, she decided to take action and created the Facebook group “Citizens Against City of Lodi’s Electric Utility Rates and Charges”.

“I think they’re joining because they’re frustrated and they want something to happen and they don’t know how to do that,” Rabusin told FOX40 on Tuesday.

The group is now 1,500 members strong since it was created in March. As of Monday night’s utility meeting, members are not only fighting numbers, they’re now fighting words.

“It was offensive to say the least,” Rabusin explained.

She and other members told us that Mayor Bob Johnson allegedly targeted ratepayers for living beyond their means.

FOX40 sat down with the Mayor Johnson who said he was just trying to raise a point,

“How many people have gone out and bought a new iPhone? Vis-a-vis taking that money and using that on their electricity bill?,” Mayor Bob Johnson said. “And I raised it as a question. Not as a comment or pointing at anybody in the audience or anything like that."

Members of the group believe otherwise.

“There was no misunderstanding,” Rabusin said. “He said that we needed to look at the choices that we were making and, 'Does a person really need to spend that money on manicures and pedicures?'”

They’re now hoping for an apology.

“I think he owes us an apology first off. Because he was very rude at out of place,” Cheryl Jones, a Lodi resident who attended Monday’s meeting told us.

“Why? I gave my opinion. Why would I apologize?,” the mayor said.

Besides the differing opinions of Monday’s meeting. Both sides have said they are prepared to move forward to find a resolution to what some call ‘phantom utility charges.’