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Water rate may - Sentinel & Enterprise

Water rate may - Sentinel & Enterprise

There are 48 comments on the Sentinel & Enterprise story from Jun 24, 2009, titled Water rate may - Sentinel & Enterprise. In it, Sentinel & Enterprise reports that:

City Councilors grilled Deputy Commissioner of Water Denis Meunier about a proposed water rate increase during Tuesday night's Finance Committee meeting at City Hall.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Sentinel & Enterprise.

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Ghettoburger
#1 Jun 24, 2009
It just gets better and better. Maybe the city should take a page out of Unitil's book and send shut off notices when you are 1 day late on a payment.

No wonder our city is going into the toilet. Maybe it's time for all of the department heads to be sent packing and make every single person reapply for their job to make sure they are the most qualified.
Frank from Fitchburg
#2 Jun 24, 2009
Rate increase? Are you kidding me? This isn't a 2 or 3 percent increase. If my math is right, a 75 dollar increase on a 300 dollar bill is 25 percent!!
How in the world do they justify that?
umm
#4 Jun 24, 2009
Ghettoburger wrote:
It just gets better and better. Maybe the city should take a page out of Unitil's book and send shut off notices when you are 1 day late on a payment.
No wonder our city is going into the toilet. Maybe it's time for all of the department heads to be sent packing and make every single person reapply for their job to make sure they are the most qualified.
That's what they are doing with the para's in the schools. They all got pink slipped. It's a great idea, except I think many of them are under some sort of contract.
J_in_Ward_1
#5 Jun 24, 2009
A notice in the mail or a letter will not affect a hardened deadbeat. The city needs to:

1. Shut off the water
2. Take the deadbeat to small claims court
3. With judgment in hand from court, seize any vehicles or other assets the deadbeat owns up to and including his or her home
4. Report the nonpayment to credit bureaus
5. Print a list of deadbeats in the newspaper to shame them
6. If this all fails, hire a collections agency (on commission) to take further action
Appalled

United States

#6 Jun 24, 2009
Expenses always go up!! Just MAYBE the dept. heads you are bashing are doing the best they can under the conditions they are asked to run things. Just MAYBE they are asking for an increase because it's necessary!
Think logically for a moment....
Moparman

United States

#7 Jun 24, 2009
Appalled wrote:
Expenses always go up!! Just MAYBE the dept. heads you are bashing are doing the best they can under the conditions they are asked to run things. Just MAYBE they are asking for an increase because it's necessary!
Think logically for a moment....
Cost do go up, we all know that, BUT, not all at the same time, by the same people. You fix what needs fixing, and trash what doesn't work or is not repairable. What is angering people, is the fact that most of this was avoidable to one extent or another. The city is always crying for money, they refuse to live within their means, just like the state government. They lie about promises of reform, to get into office, then increase all kinds of taxes, never do they live with in their means, yet joe public is forced to do exactly what they refuse to do, and get punished for it. Are you blind, or just to foolish and trust your city and state government?
Fixed Income
#8 Jun 24, 2009
It is understandable that costs go up and that rate increases will be necessary. My problem is that it is always a big jump rather than phasing it in over time. Why couldn't we have had smaller increases since 2003, when the water rates last went up? Why is it always in crisis mode? Isn't there any long range planning? Does the water department have a business plan (it is enterprise funded and supposed to be run like a business, right?)?
More than one increase
#9 Jun 24, 2009
Fixed Income wrote:
It is understandable that costs go up and that rate increases will be necessary. My problem is that it is always a big jump rather than phasing it in over time. Why couldn't we have had smaller increases since 2003, when the water rates last went up? Why is it always in crisis mode? Isn't there any long range planning? Does the water department have a business plan (it is enterprise funded and supposed to be run like a business, right?)?
They do plan to phase it in over time, and it involves more than one increase. "Water in excess of 500 cubic feet per quarter shall be billed at the rate of \$3.16 per 100 cubic feet". That is the rate change for July 1, 2009. Then, they plan to increase that rate to \$3.46 per 100 cubic feet beginning March 1, 2010,\$3.66 beginning March 1, 2011, and \$3.86 beginning March 1, 2012.

There is nothing to stop them from looking for more increases between now and then.

Since the Sentinel went to press before the meeting ended, does anyone know if this was passed? FATV didn't air the meeting.
Fixed Income
#10 Jun 24, 2009
It is the first jump of \$0.60 from \$2.56 per hundred cubic feet to \$3.16 per hundred cubic feet that I am talking about - that is a 23% increase in one step!
Appalled

United States

#11 Jun 24, 2009
Apparently the increase was denied by council...so a sigh big of relief for all of you opposed.

Let's pretend the water department is your vehicle. You, the mechanic, approach the council to approve routine oil changes to protect your engine. The council denies anymore oil changes. Now, when the engine fails (and it will) and the council says..."why did you let the engine fail, you are a lousy mechanic and didn't do your job"....as that mechanic...how would you respond??

Since: Jun 09

Fitchburg

#12 Jun 24, 2009
Appalled wrote:
Apparently the increase was denied by council...so a sigh big of relief for all of you opposed.
Let's pretend the water department is your vehicle. You, the mechanic, approach the council to approve routine oil changes to protect your engine. The council denies anymore oil changes. Now, when the engine fails (and it will) and the council says..."why did you let the engine fail, you are a lousy mechanic and didn't do your job"....as that mechanic...how would you respond??
I would be asking "my car" - aka the water department - why it kept giving people free rides all over the place. The car just kept picking up these people who wouldn't pay for gas, upkeep and just kept putting miles and miles on the car. The car - "WATER DEPARTMENT" - needs to lock its doors - "SHUT THE WATER OFF" - on these people.
cej
#13 Jun 24, 2009
HOW MANY MORE INCREASES DO THE PEOPLE THAT PAY THEIR BILLS HAVE TO ENDURE. COLLECT FROM THE PEOPLE THAT DON'T PAY THEIR TAXES ETC......
Blood from stone
#14 Jun 24, 2009
Exactly - collect from those not paying or shut them off. I am tired of being punished for actually paying my bills Mr. Meunier aka Appalled.
Appalled

United States

#15 Jun 24, 2009
No...Blood I'm not meurnier but I am a mechanic (hense the vehicle reference)that gets grief and the blame when engines fail even though I recommend the repairs that HAVE to be done. Folks want the engine to run great, but not do any prevetitive maintanence that requires a dime out of pocket. You can't have it both ways!!!

I do agree with you 100% on collecting unpaid bills. Shut the non-payers down..no exceptions!
#16 Jun 24, 2009
Mabe it is time to take all the city owned cars back from the workers.why should i pay f9or them to come and go from work.if they do not like it let them look for work elsewhere.PERIOD.
Frank from Fitchburg wrote:
Rate increase? Are you kidding me? This isn't a 2 or 3 percent increase. If my math is right, a 75 dollar increase on a 300 dollar bill is 25 percent!!
How in the world do they justify that?
A utility worker
#17 Jun 24, 2009
And you want the city to run the electric also.

We shut off non pays. No problem

The Berg is never happy

Actually looking at my bills I don't see one going down. Don't think I remember any doing that.
auntie

AOL

#18 Jun 24, 2009
So now we will be paying more for that undrinkable tan crap that comes out of the faucet.
J_in_Ward_1
#19 Jun 24, 2009
A utility worker wrote:
And you want the city to run the electric also.
Yeah, now you know how bad Unitil is!

Actually, we would likely see a regional authority for the four affected towns (six towns for natural gas) and some towns are very well run. Lunenburg has their act together.
J_in_Ward_1
#20 Jun 24, 2009
A utility worker wrote:
And you want the city to run the electric also.
As Appalled noted above, the water increase was voted down. Citizens can exert pressure on local government to control costs. However, we are basically powerless against Unitil's rate hikes because none of the DPU commissioners live in Unitil territory and feel our pain.

#21 Jun 24, 2009
Ghettoburger wrote:
It just gets better and better. Maybe the city should take a page out of Unitil's book and send shut off notices when you are 1 day late on a payment.
No wonder our city is going into the toilet. Maybe it's time for all of the department heads to be sent packing and make every single person reapply for their job to make sure they are the most qualified.
THAT is the best idea that's been posted here in a long time. A city job is not a tenured position.

Perhaps the next mayor will put such a radical idea into effect. Maybe get rid of these enterprise funds once and for all too.

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