Lincoln Twp. sewer rate hike not justified

Editor,

I am a retired resident of Stevensville and a 30-plus-year homeowner here. This is my first letter to the editor. 

I wrote this letter because I felt I had to put in my 2 cents worth about the whole water/sewer service after reading the article in The Herald-Palladium on Oct. 9 titled “Lincoln Twp. approves 9.9% sewer rate hike.”

The article stated that the average township homeowner pays $53.50 quarterly for sewer services and the increase on average will cost an extra $8.20 per quarter. My calculation equates this to a 15.3 percent increase, not the 9.9 percent increase the article stated.

In my life experiences large service cost increases like this are very unusual, especially for a public service, and it makes me wonder who is managing this whole process.

It isn’t like they are not collecting significant amounts of monies to begin with. We have a small household, do not water our grass, do not have a pool and rarely wash our cars at home. My average water/sewer bill ranges from $100 to $125 per quarter. This amount is approximately the same as friends of ours pay in Phoenix for the same service, the same small household and similar lifestyle. The only difference is here we live right next to one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world and Phoenix is smack in the middle of a desert.

There are times when we are away for extended periods of time and have zero water usage for the quarter. In those instances our last water/sewer bill was $73.45. Other cities like Phoenix allow for cancellation of services in instances like these, however, they do charge a $35 reconnection fee. You cannot do that here.

If so much more money is needed, where is the talk about improving their processes and making things more efficient so costs can actually be reduced in the future? In my past 40 years experience in the business world, this type of planning would have been a requirement before any additional funding would be approved.

It has also been my experience that huge price increases with no talk of reducing costs are primarily seen in sole-source businesses such as our water/sewer services. If you don’t like their service, there is no one else you can realistically go to. I believe these types of environments provide no incentive to improve services or make them more efficient. The only tool at our disposal for change is public awareness.

Jim Story

Stevensville