Say No To Water Rate Increase: An Open Letter To The Signal Mountain Town Council
Friday, July 23, 2021
Dear Mr. Mayor,
This morning I find among my e-mails a notice of a "special" Town Council meeting to be held at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning for the purpose of amending Section 18-107 of the Town Code to increase the water usage rate from $5.80 to $7.67 per 1,000 gallons of water.
First, I must say that holding a special meeting for this sort of thing on such short notice and scheduling it for Saturday morning when most people will be less likely to attend (or watch) seems cynical, to say the least.
Second, the citizens of Signal Mountain voted you, and the other current members of the council, into office with the expectation that you would practice a greater degree of fiscal responsibility than the previous council.
In view of this current attempt to raise water rates rather surreptitiously in the weekend early morning hours after you have already instituted an increase through the change from quarterly to monthly billing, the news that you are considering raising our property taxes once again, and the numerous desirable yet unnecessary items, like, most recently, three new police SUVs, that this council has authorized while failing to find areas to cut costs and expenses to save money and stabilize our tax burden, however, I fear our expectations may have been misplaced.
I urge you to withdraw the water rate increase, or, at the very least, put it up for consideration at a normal Monday night meeting when citizens will have had time to form opinions on its merit and be more willing to participate to make their thoughts known to the council. I also urge the council to place a moratorium on any new expenditures that are not absolutely necessary, make a vigorous and rigorous attempt to eliminate unnecessary costs and expenses as an alternative to just continuously raising taxes and rates, and focus on using our tax revenues to provide good pay for town employees and rebuild the town's aging infrastructure that has been so badly neglected for, at least, the forty years that I have resided in the Town of Signal Mountain, instead of authorizing funds for things that, although they would be nice to have, are not truly necessary, must take a back seat to the pressing needs of our town.
I appreciate your attention to this matter,
Harry M. Hays