Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Maybe We Should Amend the Charter to Let Voters Handle This One, Too

We see yet another ineffective and unenforceable way of dealing with rising utility costs by the Metro Council. If stormwater projects do not get funded this year we can trace the cause back to the end of June, when Council members Jim Shulman and Ginger Hauser placed an amendment on the budget delaying for one year the Mayor's termination of discounts for big companies using multiple meter fees. The Council approved that amendment even though it was the least evil of the four options before them in the past two months (the others included: raising water fees in general, cutting the sprinkler/pool discount, and now this "memorializing" resolution merely requesting a new storm water funding method).

But an obvious lack of foresight is their own fault. They took the power out of their own hands in June; they are forced to hand it over to Metro Water in August. And while Shulman was passionate in his midsummer pleas that the big companies be given more time to plan their budgets for the discount cut, do they really need a whole year to do that? Have Vanderbilt and Belmont become so cumbersome and inflexible that they cannot compensate for the needed changes in 3 to 6 months without going into bankruptcy? Where do I go to request a year's delay to prepare before utility companies raise fees on my household?

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