Local government in the Tiny Kingdom

Published 11:23pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

To the editor:

Well my friend, last week I was standing in a long line of customers at the Tiny Kingdom’s ABC store, and was chatting with one of the security guards on duty for crowd control, and he reminded me that a rare seasonal blue moon would be in the sky on the very same night the chosen ones would meet in a wise council session. This is like Jupiter aligning with Mars while the Fifth Dimension sings Saturday in the park. I thought for sure if ever there was a time when this wise council would listen to the voice of reason crying out from the wilderness beyond the walls of the kingdom, this would the time. Boy, was I wrong!

As you know, for the past few years I’ve been asking for the kingdom to charge customers outside the town limit the same rate for drinking water as they charge customers inside the town limit. A surcharge was tacked on the rate for those outside the “walls” back in 1926 when the water system was being constructed, because those outside the “walls” were beyond the taxing authority of the kingdom and this would help pay for the pipe. Well the pipe has long since been paid for but the surcharge remains. (Surprise, surprise!)

Let’s fast forward to today’s wacko set of parameters. The base water rate begins by giving away the first 1,000 gallons of water. No one said the wise council had a genius for marketing. I mean, does McDonald’s give away 1,000 French fries to its customers every month? The wise council member who has the greatest talent for picking horse apples off the tree of life said it was intended to help the seniors on a fixed income who may only use 1,000 gallons a month.

I contend if you identify your cost of producing a gallon of water, add 4 percent for inflation and 6 percent for maintenance, you now have a retail price per gallon and then charge for every gallon used. (It ain’t rocket science.) It’s been documented that towns that have done this have seen revenue increase. I contend that if the kingdom went to this straight forward pricing structure, they could do away with its discriminatory pricing policy and see an increase in revenue to the point where they might even lower the per gallon price. (It’s a dream, but it could happen.)

Well, the chief of the wise men said it won’t happen and a candidate for election in November on Term Limit Tuesday, “Ironman Bill” the kingdom’s blacksmith turned to me and said, “don’t worry John, if I’m elected, your water rate will go up!” Well, so much for reason.

- John Calure,

Landrum

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