To the editor:
Wanted to make sure that the citizens of Mound were aware of what their elected city council members, the mayor, the finance director and to a lesser extent, the Laker paper do each and every year when levy/budget articles appear.
Not sure why, but each year we hear about how little our taxes will go up, if at all, but yet that same levy report, which appears in the Laker, never includes the amount your water and sewer bill is going to increase.
A little trip down memory lane is in order. Since 2009, 7 years in total, the following has been approved by your elected city officials:
Base water rate; $10.18 to $52.28, a 413.56% increase. Zero to five thousand gallons; $3.05 to $4.54, a 48.85% increase. Five to twenty five thousand gallons; $3.05 to $5.22, a 71.15% increase. Over twenty five thousand gallons; $3.05 to $5.99, a 96.39% increase. First ten thousand gallons of sewer; $61.74 to $93.72, a 51.8% increase. Every one thousand gallons of sewer beyond ten thousand; $3.83 to $5.81, a 51.7% increase. Storm water charges; $6.48 to $30.58, a 371.91% increase.
For each of the last two years, they increased the water rates 8.5% for all tiers and 9.5% for both sewer tier charges.
If the city responds to this letter, which we suspect they will, they will mention water tower replacements, lift stations and water main breaks. Some of which are legit but to continue to use the same excuses for increasing water and sewer rates is getting old. We get that the towers, lift stations and fixing water mains costs money. Simply allow us to deduct the increases on our property taxes.
We would rather see our property taxes increased to cover the costs so we can deduct it at tax time versus having it show up on our utility bills, which we cannot deduct. Don’t sugar coat the levy increases to make us all feel good about our taxes. Taking extra funds via utility billing is still money leaving our pockets.
Remember, in the fall of 2016, there will be incumbents and challengers on your ballot. Keep an eye out for what they say in the Laker paper when you see their column on why you should vote for them. See if they talk about keeping your utility bill at its lowest possible.
Another thing to consider is having these high water and sewer rates is counterintuitive to attracting new residents to Mound or to build new, in the limited new lot areas that are available.
Len Princivalli and Joe Bruns