Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Sudden stealth sewer rate hikes reveal the breathtaking extent of Jeff Gahan's intellectual dishonesty. Isn't it time to hold Team Gahan and its toadies accountable?

As holder of salaried positions as mayor and head of the sewer board, shouldn't Jeff Gahan be the one -- THE ONLY ONE -- to explain why sewer rate increases have been artfully hidden in a rote bonding document ... why economic development concerns (and the city's inevitable subsidy of them) are at the heart of G-16-03 ... and why tender concern for the environment is the very last thing on the mind of a City Hall team that has cut more trees so far in 2016 than Weyerhaeuser?

Council Crackers: Final victory over Nawbany's EPA sewer nemesis is so crucial that Jeff Gahan stayed home and watched "Walker, Texas Ranger" reruns on DVD.

... Praised by its backers as one of the signal achievements of Gahanism in contemporary New Albany, the sewer ordinance came forward without the Genius of the Flood Plain present in the room to argue on behalf of its merits.

Significantly, Jeff Gahan is the mayor of this city. He appointed himself to the Sewer Board chair (a paid position), and also appoints the other members of the board, but if you were expecting leadership by example from Gahan -- something apart from the labored antics of subalterns, as with David Duggins' frat boy mugging or the vocabulary-deprived glowering of Shane Gibson -- then too bad for you.

On Monday it took an hour of desultory skirmishing before city officials finally conceded the central point, in that this desperate-haste-from-nowhere-ordinance is necessary because the existing EPA points cap will prevent planned developments in 2017.

Given that we all favor independence from the EPA, shouldn't we know more about the nature of these development plans?

As holder of salaried positions as mayor and head of the sewer board, shouldn't Jeff Gahan be the one to explain these plans, and why they matter?

Evidently not, because Gahan remained safely ensconced in the Down Low Bunker on Tuesday, as the city's Propaganda Commissariat went full frontal disingenuous (synonyms include insincere, dishonest, untruthful, false, deceitful, duplicitous, lying and mendacious):

At last evening’s City Council meeting, the City Council voted 7-2 in favor of bill G-16-03. If approved on final reading, this ordinance would authorize the construction of sanitary sewer projects that would eliminate the final remaining sanitary sewer overflows in the city.

As Bluegill succinctly observed with respect to the spin cycle:

And in today's City Hall PR announcement, not a single word about automatic annual sewer rate increases (or any rate increase at all).

To repeat: As holder of salaried positions as mayor and head of the sewer board, shouldn't Jeff Gahan be the one to explain these hastily inserted* CPI-pegged sewer rate increases?

Isn't it time at long last for Gahan to be held accountable? The Bookseller scores today's coda, and explains council's unfortunate culpability:

SEWER RATE INCREASE imminent in New Albany. But instead of taking responsibility for setting a legal rate, the city council has voted to begin an automatic rate increase pegged to some version of the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Final vote is on Thursday, December 15. That is not the legal way to set rates. CPI is not an economic variable - it's merely a statistic.

My information is that the wastewater utility needs a rate increase of $0.21 per billing unit, meaning even the lightest user would see a rate increase of about 2.8%. But no CPI will provide those funds, leading back to illegal tax subsidies for the heaviest users of the city-owned utility.

Contact your council representatives before it's too late.

At-Large – David Aebersold (R), Voted FOR
(812) 944-9823,

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

At-Large – Al Knable, MD (R), Voted AGAINST
(502) 386-5051,

1st District – Dan Coffey (I-D), Voted FOR
(502) 797-8347,

2nd District – Robert Caesar (D), Voted FOR
(812) 945-8744,

3rd District – Greg Phipps (D), Voted FOR
(812) 949-8317,

4th District – Patrick McLaughlin (D),Voted FOR
(812) 949-9140,

5th District – Matt Nash (D), Voted FOR
(502) 718-4986,

6th District – Scott Blair (I), Voted AGAINST
(812) 697-0128,

* As forwarded in the council's Monday meeting packet, ordinance passages pertaining to the proposed sewer rate increases were pasted in an entirely different font.

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