To: Scott F. Lennon, Newton's Board of Aldermen President
Newton Aldermen: Rescind New Water and Sewer Rates Structure
Rescind Ordinance A-59 Water and Sewer Rates.
Why is this important?
There is water that satisfies very basic needs: drinking, cooking, washing (that is inside water). And there is water for not so bare essentials: swimming pools and lawn irrigation (outside water).
The city of Newton pays to the state more per unit of the former than of the latter, because only inside water goes into the public sewer. Nonetheless, the rates the residents pay to the city used to be the same. Thus, the price of the essential product used by everybody was subsidized by the price of the non-essential one used only by some of the residents.
The aldermen made a decision to fix this “unfairness” by establishing the new rates effective July 1, 2015, where for the very first gallon of drinking water a resident pays 40% more than a gallon of outside water.
Fair or not, the new rates permanently shift the burden of paying for water from well-to-do to residences with lower ability to pay. Something that does not align well with the city’s publicly declared goal of supporting “our most vulnerable residents”.
In addition, such petty-mindedness produces subsequent questions. After all, does water consumed with my morning coffee before I go to work end up in the city’s sewer? Or what guarantees that water counted by an outside meter never goes into this sewer?