- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 17, 2011


Washington residents need to wake up to what their government is planning to do in the next seven years, because it’s going to cost them big money (“Federal cuts in D.C. budget mean ‘sacrifices’ and higher taxes,” Web, Feb. 20).

The proposed water and sewer rates starting Oct. 1 are not justified and have no connection to assumptions in the 2012 Washington water budget. The budget is scheduled to increase roughly 4.7 percent, yet the water and sewer rates are increasing 42 percent and 6 percent, respectively. Worse yet, the fees and taxes are increasing faster than the cost of one cubic foot of water.

The Impervious Area Charge is increasing 99 percent this year alone. Compared to September 2010, it is increasing a staggering 212 percent. The charge is budgeted to grow from the current $3.45 to $29.76 in the next seven years. From September 2010, this represents a 140 percent increase year over year - every year until 2019 - and an overall 1,252 percent rise.

This rate is due to the enormous debt for bloated facilities and the so-called Clean Rivers Project, which is unsustainable, despite what Washington’s water management says. Current debt is $1.2 billion, and it is projected to grow to more than $3.2 billion in the next seven years. What makes this even worse is the fallacy that the federal government will continue to increase year-over-year funding. If anything, the federal government will contribute less in the coming years.

The D.C. Council needs to cut long-term facility construction projects, rein in increases in engineering staff at the D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, outsource engineering and construction oversight and reduce debt. Without proactive steps now, the rates and fees will continue to increase to an unsustainable point.



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