To the editor:
I want to urge all Steubenville water works customers to come to the 5:30 p.m. Jan. 7 townhall meeting at Eastern Gateway Community College. City Council has postponed action on a water rate increase that will raise the minimum bill by $6.50 to allow questions and comments about this rate increase and how and where is it will be spent. After three weeks in a row of meetings much of why we need this and what specifically will be done with this continuous collection of money, we do know that some will go to upgrading old water mains but the only project that we are sure of is Buena Vista because there is some money already available for that project. We also know that the $3.90 will go into the repair fund that has just been created. Had we had a fund created within the last 20 years we wouldn't be in this position.
Other issues, including delinquency over the years, have been mentioned but there hasn't been a clear picture of how much money the city has lost over the years or how much of your increase is offsetting delinquencies of people who didn't pay their water bills. So it appears that part of your increase that you are being asked to pay will compensate for those who stuck the city.
Another problem that needs to be addressed is that there was never put in place a repair fund for the new filtration plant that after just seven years is having breakdowns that are being fixed with old and used parts. It makes me wonder if when we were supplying water to the drillers on a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week basis, that we might have overtaxed our system.
Lastly, I think that there looms a question about the future upgrading of pipes that have gone beyond the service date. When the city goes into neighborhoods to upgrade the main trunk lines, what pressure will be put upon your service line of pretty much the same age. If the increased water pressure causes your service line to rupture, you will be responsible for thousands of dollars for the repair. Shouldn't the city replace these while they are there with equipment and manhours and under the worse case scenario just charge you for the manhours and bill by the month for whatever cost is incurred?
These are the types of scenarios we want addressed at the townhall meeting. Please come to this meeting and bring your neighbors.