Water rates don’t trickle down

Published 8:59 am Wednesday, December 28, 2011

To the Editor:
It’s bad enough when our national elected “officials” demonstrate their professional ineptness, but it really hurts when the local folk can’t seem to muster the courage to do the right thing.
The financially strapped residents of Ashley Meadows recently asked to be annexed into Columbus so they might take advantage of lower water rates. Because they live outside the town limits they pay a higher rate for their water, which albeit legal, is in my considered opinion morally wrong.
It does not cost the town any more money to send water to the customer furthest from the treatment plant than it costs to send it to the customer living down the street from the plant.
If the Ashley Meadows residents are paying a higher rate to cover the cost of laying the pipe and unit hook ups, because this is a relatively new subdivision, than it’s an even bigger sin. These are rental units and the developer should have born these costs. It’s called cost of doing business.
This brings us to the crux of the matter. The developer (landlord) does not want to be annexed because it will increase his tax liability. The town of Columbus estimated the annexation would result in a net gain in revenue of $12,000 annually. Granted the town’s coffers are already bulging, but surely they wouldn’t turn down another 12 large. What puzzles me is why didn’t one of the so called elected officials of the town of no growth have the courage to stand up and say that only property owner’s can request annexation.
I challenge the Columbus Town Council to stand up and do the Christ-like thing; strike down the immoral, discriminatory two-tiered water rate system. Not so many years ago many of our states had “laws” that made it legal to segregate American citizens by race.
At the time it may have been “the law of the land” but those laws were still immoral and deep in our hearts we knew that. It’s not a great stretch from those laws to one that charges more for life-giving water because of where you live.
If the town council can’t find the courage to do the right thing, is there a lawyer who will step up and (at no charge) challenge this two-tiered water rate system in court?
If nothing happens, which will probably be the case, hang in there residents of Ashley Meadows, within the next few years the county will consolidate the water departments and maybe then your rates will become more reasonable.
– John Calure, Landrum

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