Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bump? Hike? If sewer rates are higher, then that's an increase, by definition.

Tolling is about to begin. Interest rates are going up. Rental property registration and eventual inspection will provide a convenient pretext for property owners to raise prices.

So will sewer rate increases, however justified, even if they're modest, and whether or not they're tied to annual consumer price indexing, or established by the city council, which now proposes to abdicate its rate-setting responsibility via CPI mechanism.

The result will be more out-of-pocket costs for those least able to pay, something so consistently ignored by this top-down "beautiful people's" mayor that it's more difficult than ever to explain how he can continue to pretend being a Democrat.

We remain a city with many citizens living at or below the poverty line, a fact that dog parks and subsidized luxury housing does nothing to dispel.

The newspaper can't be bothered; the publisher (not newsman) is waging weird personal jihad on behalf of his foundation sinecure, and of course, there are more clicks to be derived from True Crime than sewer semantics.

There are numerous distractions elsewhere, but in the face of an effort by the mayor and his council allies to sneak through a sewer rate increase obscured by 40 pages of bonding legalese by means of two quick votes just before Christmas in the aftermath of Trump trauma ... well, it's too much for me.

Someone's got to be the adult dissident around here.

I remember when the self-described Potty Police would be on hand for meetings at the slightest suggestion of a rate hike, and yes, at the time I thought they often were crazed. However, there's no point in living without learning, and it makes sense to me now.

I've done my best to do what they'd have done, and try to spread the word about something that shouldn't be rushed this way. It isn't so much the amount of the rate change. It's the Gahanesque arrogance in the manner of passage, and the simple fact that the city council should be reviewing these rates on a consistent basis, yearly, not acquiescing in convenient last-minute ways to absolve themselves of responsibility.

When Gahan was a councilman, he'd have been out in front with denunciations. Now he's not just the mayor, but he's the salaried sewer board chieftain, too -- and if last week's meeting is any indication, Dan Coffey's back on the mayoral payroll. In 2008, Coffey would have been on full filibuster with a Bic ready to flick.

To repeat: The city council meets this Thursday (December 15) at 7:00 p.m. in the Romper Room on the third floor of the City County Building. At last week's meeting, administration and council proponents were not able to provide any concrete details as to the workings of this proposed CPI mechanism, and this is reason enough to detach it from the ordinance and submit it separately once these relevant details have been provided. 

Following are links to recent NAC articles, followed by contact information for city councilmen. Please make your views known to them.

Don't forget: Back door New Albany sewer rate increases are on tap at city council this Thursday. Are you down with this?

In a major victory for practical stenography, chain newspaper belatedly gets wind of sewer rate increases, helpfully regurgitates Jeff Gahan's talking points, reinforces status quo. Um, thanks.

Contact your council representatives before it's too late.

At-Large – David Aebersold (R), Voted FOR
(812) 944-9823, daebersold@cityofnewalbany.com

At-Large – David C. Barksdale (R), Voted FOR
(812) 945-1839, dbarksdale@cityofnewalbany.com

At-Large – Al Knable, MD (R), Voted AGAINST
(502) 386-5051, aknable@cityofnewalbany.com

1st District – Dan Coffey (I-D), Voted FOR
(502) 797-8347, dcoffey@cityofnewalbany.com

2nd District – Robert Caesar (D), Voted FOR
(812) 945-8744, rcaesar@cityofnewalbany.com

3rd District – Greg Phipps (D), Voted FOR
(812) 949-8317, gphipps@cityofnewalbany.com

4th District – Patrick McLaughlin (D),Voted FOR
(812) 949-9140, pmclaughlin@cityofnewalbany.com

5th District – Matt Nash (D), Voted FOR
(502) 718-4986, mnash@cityofnewalbany.com

6th District – Scott Blair (I), Voted AGAINST
(812) 697-0128, sblair@cityofnewalbany.com

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