Update on Water Rate – New Budget, More Problems

Posted: April 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

From our friend Scott Burger. This is an important issue regarding economic justice, environmentalism, and also the terrible neoliberal spending practices by Mayor Jones:

Looks like time to retool and restart the water rates reform campaign. In recent months, reformers have focused on the very questionable PILOT(payment In lieu of taxes) for federal taxes in the water bills, but this proposed rate raise by Mayor Jones is troubling.

http://www.change.org/petitions/reform-richmond-s-water-rates

Notice that most communities show consumption in number of gallons used per day.  We still get a number of ccf’s used per month.  I doubt that many people know how many gallons are in a CCF or what CCF even stands for. If consumption was shown on the bill as gallons used per day people would understand that they are probably using more water than they realize.  (And the service charge is still not shown on the bill!)

I am concerned that Richmond is still not really encouraging customers to conserve water because the utility makes more money by selling more water … until the next drought hits!

Thanks,
Scott

http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/richmond-budget-includes-utility-rate-increase/article_90d24931-66ed-5252-af3b-9ee795153810.html
Richmond budget includes utility rate increase

In Richmond, the budget proposed by Mayor Dwight C. Jones increases school maintenance funding by $14.9 million over five years, puts all parking-related money in a new enterprise fund and creates a standalone Department of Emergency Communications to reduce emergency response times.

The city budget also calls for higher utility rates, with monthly bills set to increase by $6 for the average household.

The Richmond real estate tax rate would remain unchanged at $1.20 per $100 of assessed value.

For the fiscal year that starts July 1, Jones proposed a total general fund of $777.3 million, up from $760.5 in the current year.

The budget includes an additional $1 million for school operations, which still leaves an estimated $3.8 million gap in the schools budget to be addressed.

The mayor’s budget has no salary increases, but the plan absorbs an 8.4 percent rate increase for health insurance.

The budget was presented on March 13. The City Council is in the process of reviewing the details and hearing presentations from city departments.

A public hearing will be held April 14. Council amendments are due later this month, and the budget is scheduled to be approved in May.

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