- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A petition is underway in the Town of Chesapeake Beach in support of a universal flat water rate. Go to the website (http://www.fairwaterrates.net/). The time has come for the small volume users to stop subsidizing the large volume users. The most transparent and fair rate structure is the simplest: Everyone pays the same rate for every gallon they use. The development of new water rates has been bogged down in discussions of fixed rates, variable rates, the use of capital connection fees to subsidize the rates, a model based on equivalent dwelling units (EDUs), etc. These are all building blocks for subsidies, which should not be part of a rate structure that is fair to all users.
The town currently has a declining tier structure. This means as you reach certain levels of usage, you pay less per gallon. Everyone recognizes this is unfair, and yet the structure persists. What we are proposing is a flat water rate for every gallon with no minimum charges, no discounts and no tiers.
There are three reasons why action regarding water rates has reached a critical stage:
1) A town council budget work session, open to the public, is scheduled for March 25 at 7:30 p.m. on this topic;
2) Approved financing for wastewater treatment plant upgrades and improvements requires rate adjustments;
3) Water rates were the largest issue in the recent Chesapeake Beach Town Council elections and need to be resolved.
It’s clear that the town’s rate structure should change and the rates must change. We are sure there will be howling about how unfair this proposal is to some users. Large volume users will claim undue hardship. At the same time, the number of overdue water bills in the hundreds indicates that many in our town are facing hardship. Subsidizing large volume users should not be one of them.
We are requesting your support once again. Get involved. Please take the time to read and sign the petition and to voice your opinion at the work session on March 25. Thank you.
Valerie Beaudin, Jeffrey Krahling and Eric Reinhardt, Chesapeake Beach
The writers are members of the Chesapeake Beach Town Council.