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Business owner supports rate increase

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dear Editor:

How many of you have taken the time to go to the city to find out the true impact of the proposed rate change on your water/sewer bills? Or, are you relying on the rumor mill?

Let's put aside personal agendas and emotions and look at the facts.

The issues:

1. Current rates are less than one-half of the actual costs to produce our water.

2. Our infrastructure is well past its life expectancy and is in very poor condition.

3. The city has no reserves for any major repairs.

4. The rate increase request is to cover actual cost and build a reserve for calamity -- not for luxuries or salary increases.

5. If we don't bring in adequate dollars, other areas will suffer in the shortfall.

6. We have had virtually no rate adjustments for 14 years and have been running a deficit for years.

In the open forum on Thursday evening, I recall only two relevant questions that were not assumptions or emotionally based.

1. What does our water actually cost to produce? ($3.75 per 1000-gallon cost -- but we pay only $1.80)

2. Why wasn't something done years ago?

The basic facts are that it is impossible to continue producing water at less than one-half of actual cost. Just to break even with zero reserve money and no cushion for any future operating expense increase, the city would need to more than double our rates. With no reserve for repairs, it would be inevitable that expenses would increase due to continued breakdowns, and we would again have a major shortfall soon.

If we want to see problems, then phasing in the rate adjustments will reveal them.

As a business owner, I don't want water problems that will affect my business and have the city tell me they are phasing in repairs because they don't have reserves. If I was considering a move to Cassville and I found out the city was phasing in major water repair issues, I would move on to a town that addresses issues head on.

The average consumer will see their rates fluctuate less than $1 a day. This is a minor concession for quality water with a good delivery system. If you use it, you should pay for it; not have it subsidized.

We should be praising our current administration for being astute enough to address the issues. They should be commended for not pointing fingers or slamming the prior administration for burying their head in the sand and getting us into this state. Instead, their focus is in the windshield and not the rear view mirror.

I admire the current administration and council for addressing the situation for what needs to be done and not for what might otherwise be popular. I would hope others would come forth as well to show their support.

Sincerely,

Bob Bishop

Cassville, Missouri