MINEOLA - New York American Water is proposing an 8.3 percent rate hike for thousands of South Shore homeowners.

The utility serves 34 communities in Nassau, including East Rockaway, Roosevelt, parts of Merrick and Bellmore.

A few residents in those communities are fighting for a public water district. They say it's unfair that 30 percent of their water bill goes to pay American Water's property taxes.

American Water is looking to increase revenue by $8.5 million. The company says the proposed rate hike will fund infrastructure repairs and improvements.

"We are committed to making necessary repairs in water service while being prudent with our operation costs," American Water president Brian Bruce said in a prepared statement.

American Water proposed a nearly 20 percent rate hike five years ago.

A public meeting on the proposal will be held later this month.