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Raleigh OKs new water rates, spending on public art

Posted February 17, 2009

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— The City Council voted Tuesday to support a tiered rate structure for municipal water system customers and to set aside money to purchase art for public spaces.

The council delayed discussion of a proposal for a bypass road on the west side of Crabtree Valley Mall.

The council voted a year ago to implement tiered water rates to encourage conservation. A consultant was hired to study the best way of implementing variable pricing for water while the city installed the necessary software to handle the new method of billing.

Raleigh currently charges all water customers $3.89 per month, plus $1.96 for each 748-gallon unit consumed. Under guidelines the City Council approved Tuesday, the city would shift to a three-tiered system for residential customers and two tiers for non-residential customers.

The bottom residential tier would be for customers who use less than 3,000 gallons a month, while the second tier would be for those who use between 3,000 and 7,500 gallons. The top tier would include anyone using more than 7,500 gallons a month.

The City Council still needs to set the rates for each tier, but officials said the average residential customer uses about 6,000 gallons a month and would pay about the same under the new system.

Water used for irrigation and other outdoor uses would be charged at the top rate under the tiered system. All new homes are required to have a separate water meter for irrigation.

In other action, the council approved a plan to allocate 0.5 percent of its capital improvement spending for the creation and development of public art, beginning with selected pilot projects planned for construction after April 1.

City Manager Russell Allen will submit a list of eligible capital improvement projects to the City’s Arts Commission, which will review the list and forward a recommendation to the City Council to consider.

The interim program will be used until the City Council adopts an ordinance creating a permanent arts spending program.

The council also agreed to seek a release of the property lien on a city-owned site intended to be the future location of a downtown amphitheater. The property is bounded by McDowell, Cabarrus, Dawson and Lenoir streets, and the getting a bank to release its lien on the property is needed to keep any private uses associated with an amphitheater from adversely impacting the tax-exempt status of the city bonds used to finance the downtown convention center and other downtown improvements.

31 Comments

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  • ThinkChick Feb 18, 2009

    ...Becauuse art is so much more vital to human survival than water...

    2010 The Year Common Sense Takes Back the Government From The Top Down...Oh please let it be!!

  • james27613 Feb 17, 2009

    Art, hope it is better then this piece of junk that we have
    to drive past everyday. Time + Light Tower.

    http://www.raleighnc.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_306_207_0_43/http%3B/pt03/DIG_Web_Content/category/Government/Boards_and_Commissions/Arts_Commission/Public_Art/Cat-1C-2005308-094538-Time_and_Light.html

  • davidgnews Feb 17, 2009

    I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.

  • jbigbird3 Feb 17, 2009

    Art is great but not in a time of crisis. The city council needs to check -- Raleigh already has an amphitheatre and it does not sell-out. Get your priorities straight-- you have police officers exiting in record numbers-- traffic lights are a nightmare-- you have let growth go unchecked and you are worrying about buying art and building a white elephant.

  • whatelseisnew Feb 17, 2009

    Well at least you know where they are going to spend your money. Rise up and demand an end to water and sewer bills. Basic services that your property taxes already covered.

  • SaveEnergyMan Feb 17, 2009

    I suppose Meeker is taking lessons from the People's Republic of Carrboro. I suppose the money for art is a stimulus package for starving artists. Share the wealth.

  • thebatman13 Feb 17, 2009

    So I guess this is what has become of our City Council? ART!!! We have a budget problem, bad roads, trash on the roads and we get ART!!!

    Where does ART all on the top 100 list of Raleigh NEEDS!

  • thebatman13 Feb 17, 2009

    "Forrest Gump", when asked "Are you stupid or something?" he always replies "Stupid is as stupid does."

    So I guess this is what has become of our City Council? ART!!! We have a budget problem, bad roads, trash on the roads and we get ART!!!

    Where does ART all on the top 100 list of Raleigh NEEDS!

  • james27613 Feb 17, 2009

    They wasted money on a consultant. All they needed to do was visit Cary, NC and buy the same software the Town uses for water bills.

    Oh, remember when the Mayor told everyone at that dog and pony show with the building contractors standing behind him, he said water rates are higher in other cities.

    I don't care what rates are in other cities, I live here in Raleigh and expect the City to stop wasting our tax dollars and water fees.

    A consultant was hired to study the best way of implementing variable pricing for water while the city installed the necessary software to handle the new method of billing.

  • Trivr Feb 17, 2009

    If the drought was a "once every 100 years" event, why are we still talking conservation and higher fees for using water?

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