Press Editorial

April 3, 2012

By Staff

Revised water rates reject values

The Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District’s new rate structure has taken a giant step backward.

Previously, the rates had been set up so that those who use the most water pay a higher rate. Now the tiers in the rate structure have been flattened — meaning a roughly 6 percent cut in water bills to those who use the most.

Swimming pool or hot tub? Farm animals to feed? No problem, no surcharge for extra water. Same rate for everybody — in fact, please use more!

This change flies in the face of the environmental consciousness that we’ve developed here in the Northwest. There is no legitimate reason for changing the structure. Making heavy users pay more doesn’t cost jobs, or tread on property rights or bring into play any of the other tradeoffs sometimes associated with environmental regulations. All it does is make it cheaper to waste water.

The district assures us that there is plenty of water so we no longer need to conserve. Absurd. The lakes may be deep, but they’re not bottomless.

And then there is the rate hike just approved. According to district budget documents, water rates have gone up 40.2 percent and sewer by 41 percent since 2007.

The district’s numbers, however, ignore the compounding effect of increases. In actuality, the water rates have gone up nearly 47 percent and sewer 48 percent in five years.

The district says it needs the extra money to save for future replacement of pipes, and to make up for declining water usage.

Officials say most residents haven’t noticed the rate increase because they now use less water. So, they’re being punished for conserving water!? Where’s the reward for being a good steward?

None of the rate changes make sense. Residents are angry about the changes, and rightly so.

It’s just possible that there are more changes that need to be made than the water and sewer rates – starting with the commissioners.

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One Response to “Press Editorial”

  1. Issaquah Resident on June 13th, 2012 12:41 am

    I have had the opportunity to live in a lot of wonderful places around the world, and Issaquah is truly one of the places that “tops” the list. I have also lived in a variety of politically minded locations in which I have been of the minority mind as well as the majority mind. Settling in Issaquah, I was truly hoping for a happy medium; a place where I could teach my children to embrace their community and make positive changes without a government mandate to do so. I was therefore disappointed with the recent unabashed support by the Issaquah City Council [as well as the Issaquah Press] of the bag ban ordinance. Councilman Mark Mullet’s introduction of this ordinance was surprising to me, especially considering Mark Mullet’s State campaign stance on creating an educational environment for future generations, as well as making Washington an attractive climate for businesses to relocate. Passing the ordinance, and essentially taking away the voice of the people to change things on their own, defies the true nature of democracy, let alone the attractiveness factor to potential families and businesses. As a matter of fact, historically, the movements that last are those that take the time to garner support, to educate the citizenry of the importance of the movement. But yet again, much like Mark Mullet’s championing of the local medical marijuana dispensary, the council valued voices largely originating from outside the eastside as opposed to those living in Issaquah. In case you may have forgotten, Mark Mullet addressed the GreenlinkCollective, when he stated something to the effect of ‘the citizens of Issaquah should take a civics lesson from dispensary supporters.’ I find that statement ironic when considering that the subsequent passing of a bag ban ordinance was the opposite of civic duty. In the words of Issaquah Press, I say “phooey” to the actions of the city council, and the less than critical support of the council’s lap dog, the Issaquah Press, for doing little to spread the fervor of education and denying the empirical ability of Issaquah residents to reduce, reuse, and recycle on their own provocation. John D. Rockefeller Jr. stated that “we must instill a sense of duty in our children; every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty” and most importantly, this advice is not the effect of mandate, but rather, education.

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