Letter: Answers needed on water rate hike
I am disappointed, but not surprised, that you have chosen the easy way out with regard to increasing the water rate. It seems that in today’s government, anytime there is a shortfall in funding the immediate reaction is to raise taxes, or in this case, rates, rather than tackling the hard job of determining why the funding is not adequate and how the task can be accomplished using the existing funding. No, it is just too easy to raise more revenue by increasing taxes or rates.
There are several questions that have not been addressed, and I challenge you to publish the questions and answers in the Aiken Standard.
Why is the cost of producing water and treating sewage not decreasing since consumption has decreased? Has the lower consumption caused the cost per gallon to increase? If so, why?
What other items does the water fee fund? Why are those activities not being scaled back since revenue is not meeting expectations? Are projects started without full funding being in hand? If so, why?
Why is the shortfall in funding so large – about $700,000 per the Aiken Standard on March 11? Are the cost and funding not reviewed monthly – or more often – so that deficiencies can be identified early and action taken? If not, why?
Who is responsible for ensuring that water and sewage costs are within projections, identifying potential cost overruns and taking appropriate corrective action? Why did that person let the overrun continue to such a large amount?
How will the remaining $557,100 shortfall be made up? According to the Aiken Standard on March 11, even with a 10 percent increase, an estimated $300,000 in increased revenue, water revenue will still be short approximately $557,100. Does this mean that an additional increase in water rates will be required? If not, how will this shortfall be addressed?
What other actions were considered to eliminate the shortfall? Why were these not implemented?
I look forward to your answers to my questions.
Virgil W. Sauls