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Are You Willing to Pay for Democrat Failure ?

Are You Willing to Pay for Democrat Failure ?

Postby OldFud » Sat Dec 10, 2016 7:26 am

Does anyone have an update on South Bend's "long term control plan" (LTCP) that controls everything except ripping off the taxpayers ?

Since South Bend citizens have been decreasing in both numbers (132,000 to 100,000) and well-being, how do the South Bend politicians and bureaucrats plan to force the county residents living outside of South Bend to pony up the hundreds of millions of dollars to fund wastewater infrastructure ?

In the Democrat's calculus, since the South Bend population has been impoverished through their destruction of historical high-paying manufacturing jobs, then YOU should be forced to pay. ( By the way, how many of you are receiving 9% increases in your income every year ? ? ? )

Why are YOU on the hook ? Because you live in St. Joseph County, and all SJC residents are chumps.

S.B. debates 41 percent sewer rate hike
Incremental jumps over 4 years to pay to stop overflows

Average cost of sewer service for a typical South Bend homeowner:
2013: $40.40
2014: $44.04
2015: $48.00
2016: $52.32
2017: $57.03
2020: $66.10
2025: $88.47
2029: $95.44
Posted: Sunday, December 15, 2013 6:21 am | Updated: 8:21 am, Sun Dec 15, 2013.

Posted on December 15, 2013
SOUTH BEND -- A proposal to increase sewer rates by 9 percent each of the next four years to pay for an ongoing Environmental Protection Agency-mandated sewer project is not sitting well with some members of the Common Council.

Part of a longer-range rate schedule that could see rates increase by about 135 percent over the next 16 years, the current proposed increase is meant to generate about $12.6 million in additional revenue over the next four years to help pay for about $91 million in mandated sewer system improvements.

Those improvements are part of an ongoing, 20-year effort to reduce the number of combined sewer overflows (CSOs) in the city to no more than four by 2032, as mandated under the terms of a 2011 consent decree negotiated between the city and EPA under the direction of then-South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke.

Currently, the city's combined sewer system, more than 100 years old, overflows 60 to 70 times each year, dumping about 1 billion gallons of untreated waste and stormwater into the St. Joseph River in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

The overflows, which also send sewage into people's basements, occur during periods of heavy rain or snow melt, when the volume of waste and stormwater in the system becomes too great for the system to handle.

Under the current proposal, the average residential sewer customer would pay about $16.50 more per month for sewer service by 2017, $57.02 compared with $40.40. Longer-term, customers would pay about $95.44 per month by 2029.

The council previously increased sewer rates by 24 percent in 2003; 29 percent in 2005; 15 percent in 2007; 11 percent in 2009; and 9 percent in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.
Council members agree on the problem, it's the cost and scope of the solution -- and the speed with which the EPA has mandated it be pursued -- that has some of them concerned.

Adjusted for inflation, the current cost of the mandatory long-term control plan, or LTCP, negotiated between the city and EPA is about $667 million. That's up from about $500 million a couple of years ago.

"I find myself terribly concerned about a municipality the size of South Bend taking on a ($667 million) obligation," council member Dave Varner, R-District 5, said during a recent hearing on the proposed rate increase.

"I agree with Dr. Varner," council member Fred Ferlic, D-District 4, said. "This is an unsustainable business model."

Council member Valerie Schey, D-District 3, complained that the city is wasting money on elaborate streetscape improvements as part of the LTCP. She pointed to Diamond Avenue as an example.

Sewer customers were no less critical of the plan.

"This is a runaway train where the city keeps asking for more and more money," South Bend resident Jesse Davis said.

Added Robert Rajski, of Clay Township, "It's ridiculous that you have to raise those rates by so much when so many things are being wasted."

After the hearing, the council voted to table the matter until Jan. 27, preventing the city from enacting the new rates beginning Jan. 1, as had been planned.

The concern is that the city is moving ahead with the project without proper regard for the cost to taxpayers and the effect of repeated rate increases on population and business growth in the city.
"I just think this is going to leave us uncompetitive, and people in 10 to 15 years are going to be scratching their heads and saying, 'I don't know how we got here,' " Varner said.

Compared with other long-term control plans in other cities and towns across the U.S., the cost per capita for South Bend's plan is "extraordinary," Varner said.

Based on a population of about 100,000, the cost per capita for South Bend's LTCP is about $6,670, much more than in Fort Wayne ($1,340) or Elkhart ($3,101) but much less than in Atlanta ($7,142).

The city, though, prefers to calculate the cost per acre of combined sewer area, in which case it becomes more favorable, $39,154 compared with $26,107 (Elkhart), $35,375 (Fort Wayne), $47,105 (Lafayette) or $66,071 (Indianapolis).

'Kicking the can down the road'

Regardless, council members want the city to look at ways to reduce the cost of the project before moving ahead with a rate increase -- or, at the very least, to consider a one-year increase of perhaps 5 percent.

In particular, they'd like to wait until the Department of Public Works finishes recalibrating the flow model for the sewer system before making a long-term decision on rates, which could take another couple of months.

By a vote of 8-0, the council passed a nonbinding resolution last week urging that "all reasonable options ... be analyzed, carefully studied, and debated before moving forward on raising the current sewage rates set forth in" the city code.

Though understanding of council members' concerns, administration officials, for their part, contend the project needs to move forward as planned, regardless of the flow model.
Opportunities to reduce the scope and cost of the LTCP do not exist in the near term, officials say, only in the long term, beyond 2017.

The bottom line is this, officials say: pay now or pay more later.

"So the overall context for this is a 20-year plan with lots of moving parts. Perhaps it's the case that some elements could be revisited or the cost could be driven down," Mayor Pete Buttigieg said. "But there are other things that are early in the sequence that we've got to do, and when it comes to those things the sooner we pay for them the less it's going to cost residents in the long run."

The mayor said financing the project over a longer period will allow lower rates, and also interest rates are likely to increase from current low levels eventually.

Buttigieg said the objective is to balance "the desire to keep rates low now with the desire to keep rates low in the future, because sometimes, and for some parts of the plan, accepting a nudge on the rates now is the best way to keep them from being high in the future."

According to calculations made by the Department of Public Works, if the city increases rates by just 5 percent each of the next four years instead of 9 percent, the average residential sewer customer will end up paying about $41 more per month for sewer service by 2029.

There's also the issue of public health , officials say. The same untreated storm and waste water that flows into the river when the sewer system overflows also backs up into people's basements.
"I understand (the council is) worried about the rates, but we've got sewage going into the river and sewage going into basements," Director of Public Works Eric Horvath said. "We live in a modern, civilized society, and you would think those things wouldn't happen, but they do."

He added, "We can continuing kicking the can down the road ... (but) we still need to do the projects."

As far as concerns about the effect of repeated rate increases on population and business growth in the city, South Bend is not in a unique position when it comes to having to increase its sewer rates, Horvath said.

"What we see is utility rate pressure across the board," Horvath said. "You continue to see these rates go up everywhere."

"We're not an island that's just growing by itself," said Jack Dillon, the city's director of environmental services. "Everybody else has to increase their rates as we go along too ... Mishawaka's already higher than we are, and their rates are going up."
Currently, South Bend residents pay about $55 combined for sewer and water, less than in Mishawaka, Goshen, Indianapolis and West Lafayette, Ind., but more than in Elkhart, Fort Wayne and Michigan City.

Among the 36 municipalities in the state with a population of more than 25,000, South Bend's combined sewer and water rate is lower than all but 13. If the current proposed rate increase passes, the city would jump to No. 10 on that list. That's assuming, of course, the rates in other places stay the same.

Nevertheless, some council members remain unconvinced. Said Varner, "I think if (the city wants to) stick to a 9 percent (rate increase), the administration's got a sales job to do."

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Re: Are You Willing to Pay for Democrat Failure ?

Postby OldFud » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:35 pm

Did you see article 3 days ago regarding escalating Mishawaka combined water-and-sewer rates ... 5824f.html

Mishawaka rates are projected to increase from $68.41 in 2017 to $93.57 in 2021. A 36.8% increase in only four years !

Don't cha wish you lived in Mishawaka -- or in South Bend where rates are pegged to increase 41% ?

Where are the tens of millions of dollars going to come from ?

The people in Granger, Lakeville, Walkerton, Osceola, North Liberty, and New Carlisle are flush with cash. The South Bend Common Council is adept at relieving folks in these outer-County areas from the awful burden of all of that excess cash . . .
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Re: Are You Willing to Pay for Democrat Failure ?

Postby OldFud » Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:40 pm

South Bend water rates going up 43% !
Are we going to see them eat their own ? It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch !!!

No help for rising Mishawaka utility bills?
Council members see need for rate hike
By Joseph Dits South Bend Tribune / Mar 6, 2017

MISHAWAKA — City officials say they don’t feel good about asking the public, or their own families, to swallow a heavy increase in water and sewer bills — on average, an extra $33 per month. But they also fear that, if they wait any longer on major upgrades, it would cost the city even more.

The city council will vote on the proposed rate hike at its meeting at 7 p.m. today at City Hall, 600 E. Third St., where the public has one last chance to speak up.

After two public forums on the issue, one point has become clear: Those on low or fixed income, especially seniors, will feel the pinch. But city officials say they lack any way to give them a break on their bills.

One irate retiree on Social Security, Russell E. Kyle Jr., vented to the council Thursday: “I’m just one person who’s fed up with the federal, state, county and city government saying, ‘Give me more money.’”

The Northern Indiana Public Service Co. took a lot of heat from the public more than a decade ago for costly deposits and fees that piled up on low-income customers who couldn’t pay their bills. Then NIPSCO developed new discount programs for those facing economic hardships. The complaints stopped. And it saved local charities who were draining dollars that they could use to help clients with other needs.

But NIPSCO has the flexibility to do that since it’s a private company. By contrast, Mishawaka Utilities is city owned. By state law, it cannot make a profit and cannot use the revenue from one customer to cover the bill of another customer, said John Julien, an accountant with Umbaugh & Associates who advises the utility.

City council member Joe Canarecci, D-at large, asked Thursday whether city could lessen the tax increment financing that decreases customers’ bills — it saves them about $12 per month — and use a portion to provide utility aid to needy customers.

“That’s an interesting concept,” Julien replied, saying that state laws strictly regulate the use of TIF dollars. “It’s not being done in Indiana now.”

South Bend is facing a proposed 43 percent increase in its water rates, yet to be approved. City council members there are also concerned about its impact on customers. But South Bend, too, lacks a discount program.

Mishawaka’s increase would add about $8 per month for an average household bill this year, then about $6 per month each year after that for four years. In five years, that adds up to an extra $33 per month.

It would pay for $57 million in water upgrades, including a new wellfield under Juday Creek Golf Course, and another $43 million in sewer improvements along Milburn Boulevard and Linden Avenue and at the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

Mishawaka Utilities officials had hoped to start the increases last year. But, council President Ross Deal, D-3rd, said the council suggested putting it off a year since city officials were also backing a referendum, approved by voters in November, to boost property taxes and generate more revenue for School City of Mishawaka’s capital projects and needs.

Many of the sewer projects are mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to protect the St. Joseph River from overflows of sewage. Nobody who’s spoken at the forums has refuted the need for clean water. But resident Ron DeWinter told officials Thursday, “You need to stand up to the EPA.”

General manager Jim Schrader said he’s spoken with legislators and hopes that, under President Donald Trump, there might be some flexibility or federal aid to help the city pay for the projects.
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Re: Are You Willing to Pay for Democrat Failure ?

Postby OldFud » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:28 am

What Happens When Water Becomes Unaffordable?
By Peter Chawaga, Associate Editor, Water Online

A recent study made headlines with the conclusion that more than one third (35.6 percent) of U.S. households will find their water bills have grown unaffordable over the next five years if rates rise at projected levels. This will nearly triple the number of households that currently cannot afford water services, per the study.

It will take significant change to keep rates from rising as they are expected to, researchers for the study, “A Burgeoning Crisis? A Nationwide Assessment of the Geography of Water Affordability in the United States,” concluded. They cited climate change, sanitation, water quality, and infrastructure upgrades, issues that would require monumental efforts to curb, as the main pressures that will drive up prices.

“Estimates of the cost to replace aging infrastructure in the United States alone project over $1 trillion … needed in the next 25 years to replace systems built circa World War II, which could triple the cost of household water bills,” the researchers wrote. “Other studies estimate that adaptations to water systems to deal with climate change will cost the United States more than $36 billion by 2050.”

More: ... dable%253f
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Re: Are You Willing to Pay for Democrat Failure ?

Postby raycyrx » Wed Apr 12, 2017 2:11 pm

It's all Gov. Snyder's fault.
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Re: Are You Willing to Pay for Democrat Failure ?

Postby OldFud » Thu May 18, 2017 8:52 am

Ray, folks just don't grasp what's going down here . . .

Does the name, "Flint", mean anything to you ?

When you vote into office corrupt bureaucrats for over 50 years, eventually there is Hell to pay. And the wages of sin is by no means a light affliction. Just ask the folks of Flint, MI about the costs for support of the wicked. The latest is some 8,000 Flint homeowners have been notified that
Unpaid Water Bills Could Lead To Foreclosures.

By Sara Jerome

Flint residents are outraged that the city continues to crack down on unpaid water bills even though residents still face health risks from lead contamination.

“Because of the continuing issues with aging pipes, thousands of Flint residents are still at risk from high lead levels,” The New York Times reported.

Yet under a new city policy, failure to pay water bills could now lead to home foreclosures.

“Thousands of Flint, MI, residents have been warned that they could lose their homes if they don’t pay outstanding water bills — even as the city has just begun replacing lead-tainted pipes after a contamination crisis linked to a dozen deaths,” The Washington Post recently reported.

Over 8,000 residents were sent warning letters last month as the city tries to collect $5.8 million in unpaid water and sewer bills. In February, Michigan withdrew the water-bill assistance it had provided Flint residents after the lead contamination crisis came to light three years ago, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The letters spelled out how failure to pay water bills could lead to home foreclosures.

“If homeowners do not pay by May 19, property liens are transferred to tax bills, which begins a process that can end with residents losing their homes unless they pay their outstanding bills before March 2018,” The New York Times reported.

In a statement, Flint Mayor Karen Weaver acknowledged local outrage by noting that even she does not see this as a good policy.

"I must say, I agree with those who have spoken out against this process. I have met with our Interim City Attorney and Finance Director and they say the city is obligated by local ordinance to follow this procedure, and we must follow the law,” she wrote.

“As the Mayor of Flint and as a Flint resident, I understand the concerns that have been raised and I am working to see if any changes or something can be done to help those affected by this, especially given the extraordinary circumstances we have endured due to the water crisis," she continued.
-- -- -- -- -- --

Ray, does anyone seriously believe that the impoverished folks of South Bend are able to pay for pending millions of dollars in water/wastewater infrastructure replacement & upgrade ? The "outer county" -- Lakeville, New Carlisle, Granger, etc. will be forced to bend over and grab their ankles . . .
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Re: Are You Willing to Pay for Democrat Failure ?

Postby OldFud » Fri Mar 08, 2019 9:28 am

The "outer county" -- Lakeville, New Carlisle, Granger, etc. will be forced to bend over and grab their ankles . . .

The St. Joseph County folks who live outside of South Bend may want to look at their last several property tax bills to examine their growths . . .
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