By: Jessica PickensStaff Writer
September 23, 2012
On Monday morning, August 27, I exited Buckingham Palace after surrendering my 2012 municipal property taxes and encountered an elderly lady begrudgingly entering the premises to pay her $99 residential September water bill.
She was visibly unnerved by such an excessive, insensitive fee for what most residents receive for a fraction of that amount. I confided to her that I had used a paltry 850 gallons on my current bill and was overcharged $16.68 for service not used!
Allow me to expound upon the problem and its reasonable solution.
Elkin woefully needs to increase water usage to fund the water plant and its accompanying infrastructure, a daunting perpetual expense for such a small town in a dismal economy. Raising rates 40 percent is counterproductive, inflationary and ponderous.
This maneuver will force consumption to drop appreciably resulting in future increase to cover the deficit.
If Duke Energy proposed a similar rate increase, the North Carolina Utilities Commission would undoubtedly disallow it for obvious reasons! Water and electricity are essential services.
I have attempted to reason with town leaders in the past, responding to their insincere invitation only to be confronted by arrogance and uncompromising obstinance. It’s their way or the highway, the general public be damned.
The town simply must accept that it lacks the necessary economies of scale in population and large industrial or commercial users to proceed with this punitive fiscal policy. We should be getting these basic municipal services for an affordable cost by virtue of our property and sales taxes.
Town board meetings are held on the second Monday of the month commencing at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Town commissioners can and should moderate on these extortive fees, unlike the property-tax rate which is fixed for the year.
If you concur, contact me at 835-7678 to support my contention.