Water bills could go up 75 percent in Mason City after the city council last night gave preliminary approval to a proposed drinking-water plant. The city has little choice, since federal regulators announced the tap water is too high in radium. Councilman John Jaszerski says the federal goverment’s holding a gun to the head of city leaders. He says you can’t link more than one cancer death in the last 25 years to radium, yet the federal government says they have to lower its rate in the water. Jaszewski says the feds “have us by the short hairs” and the city must go along. Councilman Don Nelson asked that the issue be tabled until bids for the new water plant are opened. He says the city’s rushing into approving the new rates. He says citizens tell him the council and city government move too quickly on projects. He points out the water rate affects everyone in Mason City and it may be the most important decision the city council makes.