Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Outrageous sewer district rate rises proposed to meet unfunded EPA mandates

In the latest action to outrage many Northern Kentuckians, the region’s Sanitation District Number 1 has voted to ask judge executives to enact huge rate hikes over the next two years.

SD1, as locals call it, wants a rate hike now of 15 percent followed by another 15 percent hike in just one year.

But, that isn’t all. SD1’s spending plan calls for rates to continue to rise to 107.6 percent of what they are today by 2019!

The SD1 board says it needs the money to meet requirements of a settlement with state and federal environmental regulators. The total price tag by 2025, according to SD1 officials, will be $1.2 billion!

The SD1 board elected to front load much of the cost of this dubious project at a time when many home owners in the region have lost jobs and are facing foreclosure on their homes.

The Kentucky Enquirer’s parent paper, the Cincinnati Enquirer, has details here.

While few are against intelligent programs to ensure our environment is kept healthy, the enormous size of SD1’s planned program raises questions as to whether such extreme measures are warranted, or even affordable. Citizens along with business and industry are likely to demand much more information and justification for this program, which hits at one of the major attractive features in the Northern Kentucky economy: currently inexpensive costs for water and energy.

The SD1 plan follows by only a few months some highly contentious hikes in water rates in the region (see here, here, here and here).

And, down staters should not assume that this is just Northern Kentucky’s problem. Read here about how the water rate hike trend in Northern Kentucky recently expanded to Lexington.

Given Washington’s continued attacks on Kentucky’s water-related infrastructure, and the equally ominous attacks on the state’s coal and energy industries, Kentuckians had better wake up to the threats to our livelihoods, and quickly.

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