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Water cost?

First I would like to apoligize for grammar and the fact that i've never used this blog thing before. I recently received my city bill and was amazed to say the least. My electric was $127.18. It was high, but actually less than what I expected. What was amazing though was that my water cost was the highest of all. It was $136.82 with a consumption of 1810 cubic feet. I have a family of four and watered my lawn twice, which was a lot less than what it needed. I try to be as conservative as possible. I already knew the water in baldwin was expensive, but I didn't realize it costs more than electricty, so I did some research. I think some changes need to be made.

1.Baldwin purchases water from Lawrence, which charges $2.80/1,000 gallons.

2.Lawrence residents pay $2.92/1,000 gallons or .00292/gallon. I believe the base is $2.65

3.Baldwin residents pay $9.621/1,000 gallons or .00962/gallon. Base fee of $6.50.

  1. Wellsville gets their water from us(baldwin), or essentially Lawrence.

-by code Baldwin charges them $2.80/1,000 gallons for water, the same price Lawrence charges us.

-Wellsville residents pay $4.88/1,000 gallons or .00488/gallon. Base fee of $6.42.

  1. My water bill in Lawrence would be $42.18 and $60.57 in wellsville.

  2. I know baldwin charges by the cubic foot, but i converted it to gallons so it could be compared to Wellsville and Lawrence. 1 cubic foot=7.48 gallons

I haven't live in Baldwin very long so maybe someone could explain the unreasonable price we pay for water. Will I live to be 1,000 years old if I keep drinking it?

August 15, 2008

Water the heck?

Comments

brandon 6 years, 1 month ago

Sorry for the poor structure. Before I hit post it, it was bulleted and easy to read.

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brandon 6 years, 1 month ago

somebody has to have a comment? does anyone still use the speak out?

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sawman 6 years, 1 month ago

Just wait. It gets worse. After your summer lawn/garden watering figures are averaged with the rest of the year they'll jack up your sewer fee when they are adjusted, even though none of that water came near the sewer system. Then you'll pay that higher sewer fee every month even though you may start using less water.

You're aware you're paying 40% more for electricity than the rest of Douglas County, too?

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brandon 6 years, 1 month ago

Ohh yeah, I'm aware of the electricity. I can understand some, and I mean some, of the reasoning behind the cost. But water, come on.

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Monkey 6 years, 1 month ago

Its a conspirousy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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kermit 6 years, 1 month ago

When is the "walk-away" point to living in Baldwin? We found that $4.00/gallon seemed to be it for gas prices. When do we decide we can't live in this town anymore because it simply costs too much?

I am still very irritated that after the city decided to actually lower the mill levy (kudos to the city commission) the superintendant of USD 348 justified the school district's raise in mill levy by point out that the city had lowered theirs---so that makes it ok. With that attitude then I guess every time a taxing entity does the right thing and lowers a tax rate then another taxing entity can feel justified in raising their tax rates. the taxpayers of this town will never get ahead .

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123456 6 years, 1 month ago

The next time the hearing clinic is in town we need to load up the mayor and his henchmen and get them tested, they're definately not hearing our cries. . Every time we think it can;t get any worse. they amaze us by making something worse. Is there anyone down therw with any common sense? Is that too much to ask? Time for a change folk's. Think about it.

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123456 6 years, 1 month ago

Speaking of water has anyone checked the fire hydrants latley, they aren't still counting on Bill Winegar to do that are they?

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p_zinzer 6 years, 1 month ago

They have to pay for the continual pay raises granted to the City Administrator and his motley crew of mouthbreathers.

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Monkey 6 years, 1 month ago

I can Tell you that the fire hydrants are not tested by the fire department. It is a water department job.

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123456 6 years, 1 month ago

Well it got worse, it must be time for Dingman to trade the Caddilac off, you all knew he drove a Caddilac didn;t you? Do the math.

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123456 6 years, 1 month ago

As long it isn't left up to Bill Wineger to test the fire hydrant's we will probably be allright. Didn't a house burn down on his watch?

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123456 6 years, 1 month ago

Kermit, it looks like we are caught between a hard rock and a cafe.Is there some way to get a grant to get them all hearing aids?

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123456 6 years, 1 month ago

Here is a warm weather health tip, drink lots of water the city needs the money for pay raises.

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CopsWife 6 years, 1 month ago

I no longer live in Baldwin - I live in Texas. When I read the breakdown of the water I was astounded! I have a sprinkler system (which has 12 grids with 20 minutes cycle per grid) that runs three times a week. I also have a 28,000 gallon swimming pool in which water evaporates quite quickly in this brutal Texas heat and has to be replaced every other day. I have a family of three and my water bill is usually around $200 in the summer and around $75 in the winter. Included with our water usage is our sewage, but we also have plastic wheeled carts for our trash, recycled items and lawn trimmings included in the bill. I think ya'll are getting the short end of the stick. If Lawrence and Wellsville residents are paying less, where is the extra money going???

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oldman 6 years, 1 month ago

It is up to Bill Wineger to test the fire hydrant's, so I would guess more houses could burn down.

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123456 6 years, 1 month ago

The city council don't care that he burnt a house down as long as he took the blame and kept the heat off of them. That was a good reason to fire him right there. Word on the street is that he was fired from Dunbar before he came to Baldwin so it wouldn't have been anything new to him. If our leaders would do background checks on job applicants we wouldn't be having all of the problems we do with so many incompentent empoyees. They should give him a twenty five thousand dollar pay cut and he should be glad that he had a job. I guess that will be up to us next election. Do the math.

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NanCrisp 6 years ago

It has been my experience (and the experience of about 20 families that have rented from me since 1994) that the reasons the City gets by with the exorbitant charges for water are:

1) Rate increases are intiated and implemented in ways and at times that are not transparent to public scrutiny. I.E. - We don't know about impending rate hikes until it's a done deal.

2) Everyone who walks in the door of the City office questioning a bill is verbally bullied, so as to intimidate folks into just paying up and shutting up.

Kudos to you, Brandon, for your research. You are likely far more qualified to sit on a City Council than those who have been in place here all these years and have never managed to do a comparative study as you have done.

The whole mess reminds me of my experience in a nearby burg. I worked for the one company that owned the one business park in the town. We had the great fortune to have landed a branch of a national company to locate in our park. The company had manufacturing plants in about 10 small towns throughout the country, and the Kansas plant had by far the highest utility expenses. They wanted to put the plant up for sale. Not wanting to lose our biggest park tenant, the CEO and I did major investigative research. First, we learned that the KCC has no jurisdiction over municipalities that administer their own utilities. As the KCC rep told me, "Your recourse if you don't like the rates charged by the municipality is through your vote for your City government."

Another important point we discovered is that municipalities are not supposed to use proceeds from selling utilities for their general funds. This is a tricky and sticky subject, a potential can of worms. In this other town, the City reps were keeping their constituents happy by "sticking it" to the large corporations in the business park, who consumed enormous amounts of electricity.

Of course, B.C. can't do that, because there is no mfg. here. But that doesn't keep the City from taking great advantage of the profiability of municipal utilities. For years, they've tried to tell us that we'll regret it if the City stops providing the utilities. Well, I think a lot of us would be very willing to take our chances. It's rather obvious that the private utility companies serving Lawrence and Wellsville are somehow able to do it at half the cost of B.C. and still make enough profit to stay in business. Whether the problem is poor negotiation, poor planning, poor cost control, poor productivity or a combination of any or all of these, our municipality is failing in the utility business.

And what came of our work in E-town? Well, the City shrugged and defended their rates. The plant was sold. The company is probably much happier with their many mfg. plants in many more cooperative towns in other states. Just as the blogger above, who moved to Texas, is now much happier not living in B.C. When all else fails, vote with your feet.

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Bandito 6 years ago

This excerpt taken from the Baldwin Utilities Website at: http://www.baldwincity.org/cityhall/electricutility/award/

Emphasis on the asterisk lines:

"Although Baldwin City's current electrical production capacity is more than adequate to power the entire city on the hottest day of the summer, much of the electrical energy consumed by the City's residents is contracted at low rates from outside utilities with the City's own plants generating electricity at crucial peak times throughout the year. This strategy allows the City's utility to maintain considerably lower prices for its customers while maintaining an independent utility that is not entirely susceptible to outside rate hikes by other production entities.

Following this piece of website propaganda, we should have "considerably lower prices" not the other way around.

If you are interested in knowing the facts and justification behind charging up to 13 cents a kilowatt hour for your electricity or the above mentioned water prices, contact me ASAP. Next city council meeting is on September 15 at 7:30. In every agenda is a place for public comments and questions.

Now is the time to organize the citizens of Baldwin City who are concerned about the cost of their basic utilities (electric and water) and the subsequent effect that this is having on your monthly utility bill, on our current housing prices, the affordability of living here in Baldwin City and the overall effect as we go about our daily lives. We, as a group, have the ability to confront and question our elected officials at the next city hall meeting to provide the much needed answers and initiate positive change to this critical issue that is confronting all of us.

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brandon 6 years ago

nancrisp...you made a good point with number 1. For those who don't already know..the water rates will increase at some point this month, due to Lawrence increasing their rates. (This happens every year). But obviously, it will be just like last year when they increased it and then ran the council minutes in the paper. I contacted the city administrator and obtained some information from him. He basically stated our high costs are due to operations and maintenace. Also, the rate Baldwin pays for water from Lawrence is now closer to $3 and change (sorry, online city code is old one). But that doesn't change the points I've tried to make. Apparently changes need to be made in the way we operate and maintain our utilities. If every other city in the US can do it, then I don't see any reason we can't.

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Monkey 6 years ago

I will not be able to attend but you have my full support on this matter. I agree it is BS that we have to pay more. I could see justifying it if we never lost power but it took 45 minutes to get power the other day. The generators need to be set up so that when there is an emergency loss that they automatically kick on. One of the only reasons I am still here is that I could not sell my house and not take a loss.

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NanCrisp 6 years ago

I feel your pain, Monkey. I'm in the same boat. I don't know whether you've actually tried to sell your house, but we have not even dared to put ours on the market for fear that it will immediately devaluate just by sitting there with a sign in the yard for a year or more.

And I also am not able to attend these city council meetings because Mondays I have to be in Lawrence until after 8 p.m. One can try writing letters to council members and/or city officials, but they already have their agendas and they will conveniently choose not to pay attention. Never mind the fact that they seemed to appreciate your vote at the time they received it.

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NanCrisp 6 years ago

Good try, Bandito. Now you see why people are reluctant to go before the City Council. All you get is an earful of what you've already heard, what's been printed in the paper already. Explanations do not provide solutions. All you get is a shrug of the shoulders. "Oh, well. There's nothing we can do. And, by the way, we're under pressure to RAISE the rates." As I stated above, according to the KCC, what citizens can do when they are disgruntled with municipally-administered utilities is to be sure to elect City Council representatives who will take this on as a primary issue and work diligently to trim wasteful spending.

These guys who have been spend-spend-spend the past several years constantly grouse over how the previous administrations did "nothing" for "years." They try to make B.C. citizens believe that, without their spend-thriftiness, we'd have nothing but crumbling stones in our town. Well, I believe that it would have been quite possible to provide maintenance and even measured improvement without just opening the floodgates and socking the citizens of B.C. with horrendous costs.

Now they've created a situation where people feeled "duped" into moving here. And people who, ten years ago, thought they'd like to live here for the long-term are now wishing they'd sold out when the market was good. As others have noted, the only thing barring a mass exodus on the basis of high utility costs right now is everyone's inability to even sell their homes and get away.

The time has come to stop saying, "There's nothing we can do." Just as our Congress and our U.S. Executives are no longer getting away with giving us that excuse, we should no longer accept it at the local level, either.

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