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Raleigh council delays vote on water rate hike

Posted April 21, 2009

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— The Raleigh City Council on Tuesday decided to delay a vote on a proposal to raise water rates by as much as 17 percent.

Water rate hike postponed Water rate hike postponed

The proposed increase is a result of the city selling less water and making less money during last year's record-breaking drought when it urged customers to conserve water.

The council will discuss the matter further at a work session scheduled for Monday after Mayor Charles Meeker asked for only an 8.5 percent hike until December.

City Manager Russell Allen said delaying the full rate would be risky.

"This will introduce a lot of unknowns and a lot of current-year and future-year unknowns to our AAA (bond) credit (rating), and I have to be able to say that very pointedly to you," Allen said.

Members could also vote on the measure next week. The city staff wants to have a new rate in place by May 1.

If approved, the original proposal, which also includes raising connection fees paid by developers, would mean an increase of about $5 a month to the average residential water bill.

This drought, along with a slowdown in local development and an internal accounting error, created a $13 million deficit in the city's Public Utilities Department budget.

Supporters of the proposed increase have said an increase will help close the gap until a new system can be put in place.

The rate increase is separate from Raleigh's plan to implement tiered water rates that would charge a higher rate to customers who use more water.

The tiered rates are scheduled to go into effect in December, but Public Utilities Director Dale Crisp has said that they might have to be delayed until July 2010 if the department continues to run at a deficit.

Conservation would eliminate the added revenue from the higher rates, and the city would end up spending more sending out monthly bills instead of billing every other month, Crisp said.


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  • Mean Old Mom Apr 21, 2009

    Prediction.....Mayor Meeker won't increase the rates until he knows that he will be unopposed in the upcoming mayoral race. C'mon....somebody run against this guy this time.

  • james27613 Apr 21, 2009

    Everyone: Be sure to watch for any city trucks sitting idle with the engines running.

    Be sure to email Mayor Meeker anytime you see this waste of
    fuel and money.

  • james27613 Apr 21, 2009

    Not a water comment but...

    If the city did not vote down that Convention Center,
    it would have been built under budget compared to what
    they had to spend with all the price increases on steel,
    concrete and copper wire, etc.

    Raleigh would have plenty of money, thanks Mayor Meeker.

  • james27613 Apr 21, 2009

    Our City should subcontract the water billing to
    the Town of Cary.

    They already have the software in place for tier billing.

    Instead, they hire more 'consultants' and have to replace
    the expensive software they purchased a few years ago.

    More waste in Raleigh NC. Amazing these people can keep their jobs.

    Now they want to raise our rates almost 20 % !

    Tax payer to city of raleigh, I will remember all of you
    come election day.

  • coolwill Apr 21, 2009

    stop the conservation and stop the water police. My cost for water in the winter time is like what i paid for water 1 year ago in the summertime when i used sprinklers. there is three members in my family and one has been off in college for the last three years. we guys need to email our council again and again.

  • Made In USA Apr 21, 2009

    FACT: The earth's surface is 9ver 90% water. However, the vast majority of the water on this planet is salt water in the ocean. Only 2% of the earth's water is available in fresh-water form (drinking water) at any given time.

  • rc4nc Apr 21, 2009

    This is a perfect example of how the liberal mind works. They create a system that's not adequate. Then implement rules to reduce demand. When the demand is reduced below what will provide revenue needed to support their overhead, they punish the folks that are "saving" water by raising the rates. Wouldn't it make more sense to reduce the overhead expenses until they reach the level needed to provide what's needed to meet the current demand? In other words "trim your budget to fit your revenue."

  • protestthis Apr 21, 2009

    Not that i approve of any hikes anywhere - but you do realize that water is not completely free? It does cost money to get it out of the wells/lakes, ect. Treat it accordingly, and maintain the system? Reading some of these comments you'd think that the city should give it away.
    Of course everytime i read this forum that's what everyone expects - "something for nothing"

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 21, 2009

    Meeker is a joke. First he asks us to conserve water and we did. Now he wants to raise water rates to compensate for the revenue drop because of reduced water usage. Look at your water bill and see how much Meeker has raised it by raising and adding fees to the bill. He doesn't raise taxes, he raises fees. That way Meeker can say, he hasn't raised taxes in Raleigh.

  • Gucci Hippy Piggy Apr 21, 2009

    I'll remember this little rate hike the next time you guys ask me to conserve water. Thanks for nothing! :(