Only one member of the public spoke at a public hearing on the city of Ste. Genevieve’s proposed annual water and sewer rate increases last Thursday.
That speaker, though, was quite vocal in voicing displeasure with the rate increases.
Karen Stuppy, who had spoken out against the increasing of property tax through the passage of Proposition P at a May meeting, was the lone member of the public to speak during a public hearing on the city’s proposed water and sewer rates.
The rates, proposed by Alliance Water Resources, would see a 2 percent annual increase in water rates and sewer rates for residences and a 3 percent water increase for businesses.
“The issue before you is whether you want to adopt a multi-year program that reflects our estimate of what it’s going to cost in order to continue to operate and — more importantly — maintain our system up to the increasingly high standards that are required by the state of Missouri,” city administrator Martin Toma told the aldermen. “It doesn’t get easier. They continue to ratchet down the discharge requirements. They annually seem to regulate something they didn’t regulate before. But Alliance, through its relationships with the state agencies, has a pretty good handle on what’s coming down the pike.”
He explained that the board could opt to make the decisions on an annual basis or do it every two, three, four or five years. Past boards, he said, had felt setting five years at a time worked best.
He noted that it’s “prudent to look to the future and see what your needs are going to be and take the action to meet those needs.”
Stuppy expressed frustration with the rising rates.
“Right now I feel like our water bills are really high as a city resident,” she said. “I feel like I’m paying a lot of money for water, and I feel like we’re being hit. I’m going to be hit on my personal property taxes and on my real estate taxes. Now I’m getting hit on my water.”
She said she felt like middle class and senior citizens are constantly “getting hit” by increased taxes and fees.
“Why can’t you just do this within a two-year or three-year period, just to get a better estimate?” she asked.
See complete story in the October 30 edition of the Herald.