Thursday, February 21, 2008

Expect Water Rate Increases

Cuts to services (like the Saturday closings of many Metro park community centers), promises of more cuts, and campaign pledges not to raise taxes have done nothing to rescue Metro's sinking credit rating. And Council Member Emily Evans warns us in the morning paper to prepare for water service rate hikes accordingly.

Metro's hands on raising revenues are bound by the Tennessee Tax Revolt-sponsored 2006 voter referendum to put all tax increases on the ballot, leading one council member to opine to the Nashville Scene some time back:
“I’ve got an awful lot of bright people in my district,” says one council member, “but none of them reads the budget proposal because it’s the size of a phone book. As council members, we go through three months of hearings with 55 departments and make some tough calls. But voters are going to show up at the polls and push ‘no’ [to a tax increase] and not have the slightest idea what that means. Fifteen years from now, we’ll be living in a city with no police protection, no fire protection, crumbled sidewalks and a school system that’s 10 times worse than it already is, and people are going to be wondering what went wrong.”
And campaign pledges ring hollow in light of our capsizing credit rating:

1 comment:

  1. The water rate hikes are being covered now for the first time by the Tennessean, when the real story is how in the world we let it get this bad.

    Our water & sewer system hasn't had even the basic maintenance that it should have had in decades, and the one time that we've adjusted rates for these services we actually made them LOWER.

    Look, as I've said before, sewage ain't sexy. But I'll sign the check to get this system back to the safe levels at which it should be a whole lot sooner than I'll fund another professional sports team. I just hope the good efforts of Emily Evans to push us to address it now aren't overrun by other politics. It's no longer a case of preventing the crisis: we're in it, baby.