How will citizens pay for utility increase?
April 14, 2017
How will citizens pay for utility increases?
Diana Mesch, Aztec
On Thursday, April 6, I was informed that the City of Aztec was proposing a very, very large increase in sewer rates in addition to smaller increases in electricity and water rates. I was in disbelief until I verified the increases in the Daily Times and saw the article on Friday April 7 saying that the sewer increase was to be 60% the first year and an additional 35% the second. Surely, I said, common sense has not waved goodbye to four of our five commissioners and our city manager.
If these proposed increases for our residents (where are the increases proposed for commercial businesses and schools?) you, Mr. Ray and Mayor Burbridge, Commissioner Randall, Commissioner Sipe and Commissioner Rogers have signed the death warrant for the City of Aztec. No ifs, ands or buts. The citizens of this city in no way can afford such nonsense. Times are hard as it is but even in good times these increases are preposterous. What are you thinking or are you thinking at all?
I have some questions I expect to be answered not tonight but in the Friday, the 21st of April, Talon and Daily Times for all the people of Aztec to see.
1. How do you propose the majority of Aztec citizens to pay for such increases?
2. Each utility bill for many, many years has had a $2.50 fee solely to help pay for the $11 million dollar sewer plant. What has happened to that money?
3. A rate impact study was done at the time we built the sewer plant to make sure the utility rates were sufficient over the years to pay for the loan of the new sewer plant. These figures must be printed for the public to see. Have they been followed by this city manager?
4. What is the total amount available in the Joint Utility Fund?
5. Now the big one that should be revealed to the public, just exactly how much in the hole are we in not being able to make payments on the sewer plant? And include the reasons for not being able to make the new sewer outfall line prior to even starting the project.
There are numerous ways the city can raise money to pay for things without crucifying the public. We pay the city manager a handsome salary to know how and expect the city commission to ask numerous questions of the manager especially in matters such as this. All commissioners are to look out for the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and the four mentioned commissioners in this text are not fulfilling their oaths. If these proposed rates go into effect you all better get used to eating peanut butter sandwiches with the rest of us; that is what’s left of us.