Increase in Utility Rates For Craig AND Port St. Nick Residents! [Agenda for May 17] - P.O.W. Report

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Increase in Utility Rates For Craig AND Port St. Nick Residents! [Agenda for May 17]




To the untrained reader it would seem that POW Report has been a bit harsh with the Craig City Council when reporting on the recent council agendas and proposed fees taxes. The truth is my heart breaks just a little bit every single time residents are forced to pay more and more money for less quality services and there is rarely ever any apology or money going back the other way. For example, Klawock had a water boil notice in April that lasted nearly the entire month; residents pay good money to have safe water but will they ever see an apology, an explanation of the problem, or a few bucks back from their monthly water bill?

It's a rhetorical question.

Residents have every right to be upset when they are taxed, have to make sacrifices and see no such sacrifices made on the part of the city.

This Thursday's Craig Council Meeting at 7pm is a big one. 


Not only do they introduce the  3.5 Million Dollar budget for 1st reading (on page 56). They also introduce a fun little increase on all utilities (page 141). 

The water department continues to struggle to generate enough revenue to meet
expenses so the staff is recommending raising the rates an additional 4%. The
base rate is $16.43 which was increased from $15.80. Customers will be
charged per 1000 gallons used at a rate of $3.75 per 1000 gallons. Customers
outside the city (Pt. St. Nick road) will be charged a base rate of $41.08 per
hookup and a water rate of $9.38 per 1000 gallons used. The water rates are
based on water consumption. With this increase the expenses will still exceed
the revenue by approximately $97,000.

The wastewater rates will be on a per unit basis and charged a unit amount of
$30.00. The unit charge will not change with occupancy. If a structure has two
units such as a home with an apartment the base unit charge will be billed even if
the either units is occupied. Customers will be charged per 1000 gallons used at
a rate of $3.60 per 1000 gallons.

After doing some weight comparisons of the multi-unit and commercial
dumpsters, we determined the multi-units service has 30% more tonnage of
waste. The per-unit cost of the multi-unit residential service has been changed to
a per dumpster fee of $145.00 per pickup, which is 30% higher than the business
rate. The business dumpster rate will stay the same. Multi-unit apartments with
over 3 units will only be able to use dumpsters. The 64 gallon can will be
reduced to $45.00 per pickup so it is proportional to the cost of the 48 gallon can.
The garbage department will continue do additional weight comparisons to
validate the fees that are being established.


Now to be Fair...

Your 'umble editor has sat and been in charge of a million dollar budget on more than one occasion (when I was in college). So, I know the pain of trying to figure out what to cut and what fees to increase. Although it my case the argument was usually, do we increase student rates or do we simply cut the free coffee and tea?

I commend the City Council for maintaining a balanced budget (more or less) for the last decade that i've looked at the numbers. I will also say that there is a reason the Council (and government in general) loves FEES because if they increased taxes the voters usually vote no on them...Gee I wonder why?

Of course, once these fees get implemented (which they always do) in two years the council will do it again ad-infinitum. The reason is because government employees are inherently unsustainable and the pension costs are going to continue to go up (which they always do). You see Craig is just a microcosm of the State. People keep asking, 

Why is the state in a budget deficit? 
The answer is simply, because of government employees and paying state retirement pensions simply isn't cheap. Craig, Klawock, Ketchikan (etc) is going to be facing some hard decisions as the pension crisis really hits into force in the next 5 years. Start making plans now because coming back two years from now and increasing the fees again isn't going to work....

The Agenda:

Click the file box in the top right to load the document. 




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