Writer steamed at water rate hike

November 23, 2012

Well, no surprise at all. This is the third critical letter I have felt compelled to write in defense of Sedalia water patrons.

Please let me critique what has happened over the past few years. When Tom Ragan was the president of the board of public works, a proposal was brought to their attention to update our water metering system.

I became concerned and made personal contact with Ragan twice. The first time, I was left to believe that a meter change would never make it past the talking stage. Sorry, it did. The second time, I was left to believe it would never be passed by the board. After much discussion and several articles in the Democrat, it was passed.

Ragan continually told the public, “This will pay for itself.” It was reported that over a 10-year period, not only would it pay for itself, more cash flow would come into the Sedalia Water Department.

The new system has cost needed meter reader jobs in the Sedalia economy, and financing the project went to lending institutions out of the area. People have run over the sensors with their lawn mowers with threats coming from the water department of having to pay for them. Now, to no one’s surprise, we are looking at a humongous rate increase.

If my memory is correct, more than $1 million was spent on the improvement — if you want to call it that. Common sense tells me the extra spending has to come from somewhere. Guess where? Out of your pocket.

Now let’s take a close look at that proposed rate hike. Let me take an example of say $10. A rate hike of 12 percent will make this water bill become $11.20. After three more years of 3 percent annual increases, it will be $12.62.

Jack Robinson, now president of the water board, a few months ago said things are starting to get a little tight. Jack, same story applies here.

Larry Stevenson

Retired, Sedalia