Friday, August 24, 2007

Learn Why You Should Subsidize Corporations

The Fayetteville City Council's Water and Sewer Committee will be meeting next Tuesday, August 28th, to hear the demands from Industrial users that they continue to be subsidized by residential customers. Don't count on them saying that they are such poor managers that they can't make a profit if they have to pay market rates for water and sewer. Don't count on them admitting that you are ultimately subsidizing the price of their products sold to customers nationwide. Expect them to say you should do more for big industry, or they'll leave and take their jobs elsewhere. Some would call it corporate blackmail.

Mayor Dan Coody and his staff support continuing this Reverse Robin Hood rate structure
that has local homeowners and renters paying higher water and sewer rates to provide corporate welfare to large corporate industrial users such as Pinnacle Foods and their out-of-state stockholders. Their profits are more important to this administration than charging fair rates for residents.

Alderman Kyle Cook has been advocating a cost-of-service rate structure that would reduce the subsidies. Alderman Lioneld Jordan has been advocating a flat rate with everyone paying the same, which would actually reduce residential rates by ending the industrial subsidies. Either would be better than the present inequities and far better than Mayor Coody's plan to make it even worse.

I'd like to see the Mayor and Council adopt a progressive rate structure that provided a lifeline rate for low income and elderly residential customers and an incentive to conserve water by rewarding lower usage instead of giving big breaks to those who use more and put the greatest demand on our system. I realize that all this talk of sustainability is mostly just talk, but here's a chance to put it into practice and do the right thing by providing fair rates. I don't expect them to even consider it.

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