Water and sewer rates rise faster than the oceans

September 25th, 2012 by Ken

There’s something we take for granted in this country of ours – – water.

The only time we pay attention to water is when we don’t have it or when it comes with some restrictions such as lawn watering. Most of the time water is far from our minds.

The other time we think of water is when we get our monthly water bill. There’s no other bill that has gone up so far and so rapidly as the bill we pay for sewer and water. Continuously, for the past two decades, the cost we pay for water and sewer has climbed, and continues to climb.

The City of Lacey just announced that its water rates will go up 37 percent over the next five years. The City of Tumwater is including water rate increases in its city budget as is the City of Olympia. And, LOTT sewer system has determined that it will increase its rates every year for the foreseeable future.

Oh yes, water and sewer rates are tied together. You can’t have one without the other.

So, why are water and sewer rates increasing at such a rapid pace? The answers lie in an explanation of what we get for our water and sewer taxes.

We get good clean drinking water every time we turn on the tap. We know that it will be good and clean because its tested every year. And, the results are posted every year. That costs money.

Your taxes pay the salaries of the municipal workers who oversee the water systems. Every year they get a cost of living increase as well as additional funds for their medical care. That costs money. (Negotiated with the unions.)

Your tax dollars go to find new sources of water to meet the continual need for growth. Just drilling a new well costs more than a million dollars. There’s also an annual upkeep to make certain the pipes are clean and not leaking and the wells are pumping as they should. That costs money.

We pay taxes for our sewer system. We flush the toilet and our waste product disappears. We don’t really want to know where it goes, but it all costs money.

LOTT is spending more than $50 million dollars of your taxes to upgrade facilities and meet the demands of the Department of Ecology. We can’t pump the stuff into Budd Inlet or Puget Sound anymore.

We pay money – – loads and loads of money, every month – – month after month, for clean water and sewage disposal. But have you ever asked “Are we getting or money’s worth?”

Local governments are holding budget hearings in the next few weeks. If you’re really interested in how your water and sewer taxes are being spent ask one of your local elected officials.

If you don’t care – – then just pay the increased taxes and get on with your life. Just be thankful you have clean water and a way to get rid of your body wastes.

(An aside: You pay city utility taxes on top of the taxes you pay for sewer and water. Every time your taxes go up you pay a utility tax on top of the water and sewer tax. You’re double taxed.)

Posted in Government, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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