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My last water bill was about 40 dollars higher than usual. Any one else have a big spike like that?

Don't get me started on the bogus water rate increase last year.

Jim Mangin

ps - too late. There was absolutely no reason for back-to-back water rate increases in 2003 and 2004 - except to fend off yet another budget defecit in the municipal budget. That's not why we took the Water Dept back.

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Don't get me started on the bogus water rate increase last year.

Jim Mangin

ps - too late. There was absolutely no reason for back-to-back water rate increases in 2003 and 2004 - except to fend off yet another budget defecit in the municipal budget. That's not why we took the Water Dept back.

Mr. Mangin:

Is it true since the Water Dept. is back, it has run at a deficit every year and money is taken from the general budget to address the defiicit? If so, this is exactly the reason the Water Dept. was farmed out in the first place. This would mean that water is still costing the taxpayers more than their bills indicate (plus the increases) if the department is being "supplemented" with taxpayer money from the general budget in addition to the rate increases. A double dipping situation. Is this so?

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Mr. Mangin:

Is it true since the Water Dept. is back, it has run at a deficit every year and money is taken from the general budget to address the defiicit?  If so, this is exactly the reason the Water Dept. was farmed out in the first place.  This would mean that water is still costing the taxpayers more than their bills indicate (plus the increases) if the department is being "supplemented" with taxpayer money from the general budget in addition to the rate increases.  A double dipping situation.  Is this so?

Actually, you have it backwards, but let's start from the beginning. In Fiscal 2002 (the first full year after we took back the Water Dept) the Water Dept deficit was $1,023,000. This had to be covered in the F'03 budget, which the Mayor accomplished by borrowing the money (the water meter bond of 2003). In F'03 water rates were raised substantially (yes, I voted for the increase) and the department finished the fiscal year with almost $500,000 in surplus. The Water Dept. used $200,00 and the remaining $300,000 was used by the Town in the F'04 budget. Despite this massive surplus in the Water Utility, water rates were again increased the following year (I voted against this increase). Fiscal 2004 ended with the Water Dept showing a surplus of about $105,000 which was again applied to Town's Fiscal 2005 budget.

Is it a "double dipping" situation? Yes, but the Town is using excess money from the Water Dept, not the other way around. In my opinion, that money should be used for water capital projects. Instead, the Mayor bonds for these projects and taxpayers end up paying more in interest and bond administration costs.

And remember, the only reason the Water Dept is running at a surplus even with back-to-back rate increases is because Mayor Santos addressed the million dollar 2002 deficit by bonding. That is very poor fiscal policy.

Jim Mangin

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