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Why Yorktown water rates are going up.
Attention water customers:
After this coming Tuesday’s public hearing, our water rates will be going up 25 percent — or $112 a year for the average household.
The increase is needed because Water District expenses exceed revenue. Simply put, the district needs more revenue.
Here’s a short explanation of how the district got into this financial mess.
As homeowners, we know that if and when our expenses exceed our income, it’s time to make some lifestyle changes. We either have to reduce our expenses and/or find ways to add to our income.
It’s no different for the town. But that’s not how Supervisor Michael Grace does things.
For purely political reasons, Supervisor Grace reduced the district’s income while allowing expenses to continue to increase. Politics took precedence over sound fiscal management.
Water customers are responsible for the district’s two major sources of revenue: user charges based on consumption and a water district tax based on the assessed value of our property.
It doesn’t take a financial genius to understand that with expenses increasing every year, if one revenue source is reduced, the other revenue source needs to be increased. But that’s not what Supervisor Grace did. He did the opposite.
Beginning in 2013, he pushed through a 40 percent reduction in the water tax rate, resulting in a loss of approximately $900,000 a year in revenue. At the same time, he kept the user charge the same and raided the district’s rainy-day fund to make up for the lost tax revenue.
Now, four years later, he’s acknowledged that “maybe” he made a mistake and “maybe” he should have increased the usage charge gradually in small increments instead of one big increase.
He doesn’t mention the $900,000 lost revenue from his tax cut.
It’s time to stop playing politics with our water supply. It’s time for an honest discussion about the district’s finances.
For a graphic look at Water District finances, visit www.yorktownbettergovernment.org/town- issues.htm .
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