Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Common Sense from Council Committee
Last month, Mayor Coody sent his staff to a Water and Sewer Committee meeting with a consultant's report that no one understood and none of the staff employees could explain. Although other questions remain, there is no argument that water and sewer impact fees can help pay for system expansion due to growth. They might even have been applied to reduce the impact of the mismanaged $63 million cost overrun debacle on the new wastewater treatment facility.
Water and sewer impact fees on a new single-family residence are currently $1,143. Duncan and Associates, the Texas consultants hired by the city to study the problem, recommended that the combined rate should be $5,585 and somewhat higher for commercial property. Of course, those out of state consultants don't have to sell the deal or live with the consequences.
Alderman Lioneld Jordan, with support of committee chair Kyle Cook and member Bobby Ferrell, suggested that the increase be implemented in stages over a three-year period with annual review to determine if the rate should be raised or lowered based on cost experience. It looks like common sense might prevail and reduce the sticker shock of cost to new homeowners and businesses.
These are the same three Aldermen who earlier did the heavy lifting and forged the new water rates that encourage conservation and give some rate relief to the low-income elderly and all of us who use less water. Thanks to each of you-- Jordan, Cook, and Ferrell -- for your common sense, good work, and collaborative attitude to solving the thorny problems in providing essential public services.