Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Water rates and sewers in St. Augustine, Florida -- 10 quick thoughts on the subject

Re: Today's Joint City-County Commissions meeting

1. City and County run by racists for decades. John Regan is a breath of fresh air.
2. City overcharges all households. City undercharges all commercial users. 3. Water rate study will result in cut for every household's rates and possible pro rata refunds for longtime residents. I've lived here nearly 15 years and been paying twice as much for water as county residents and residents of other Florida cities. There must be water rate reform this year. The water rate study RFP must be issued without further delay -- City Commissioners voted to do it, and the City Public Works Director needs to do it. Now.
4. Otherwise, low-income residents and average householders will sue our Nation's Oldest City for 14th Amendment violations and win injunctive relief from federal court, along with compensatory damages and attorney fees. 42 U.S.C. 1983. I reckon they will win that lawsuit.
5. Large water users have no incentive to conserve, waste water, and they pay very little for water. The large water users' low water rates -- for Flagler Hospital, Flagler College, Northrop Grumman, hotels, motels, restaurants, bars, Whetstone Chocolates, et al. -- are subsidized by household water rates twice the rate in the entire St. Johns Water Management District area. The 99% subsidize the 1% and their profits. This is a stench in the nostrils of the City and Nation.
6. Conflicted business-owning City Commissioners in the past approved and maintained this outrage -- there was never a water rate study before in the City's history. 7. And, to top it all off, West Augustine paid even 25% more than other residents -- more than one million dollars extra charged non-residents annually in recent years.
8. Where was that money spent? Not on West Augustine sewers. Follow the money. It is an Enterprise Fund. We need a full accounting of where the overcharged 25% went.
9. Provide fair rates. Provide sewers for West Augustine. Now. Otherwise, the City gets sued for civil rights violations and loses in federal court. The whole world is watching. We can do better, we must do better and we will do better.
10. We shall overcome!

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