Cedaredge continues to rob Peter to pay Paul
By Ed and Peggy Baxter
Published Thursday, July 13, 2017 9:42 am
In the most recent newsletter from the Town of Cedaredge, it was stated that the DCI misrepresents the town's issues with the golf course. It is ironic that the town would blame the DCI for the same offense we believe the town is guilty of committing, especially after reading about the huge increases in water rates! The town has tried to put its "spin" on these unconscionable rate increases. It claims to be doing us a favor by eliminating the "complexity" associated with the debt retirement fee, the capital replacement fee, the plant improvement fee, etc. and replacing these supposedly temporary charges with a "base rate." That "base rate" is now just for the "availability" of water, not any water itself! The new base rate is about equal to the total of old fees.
We live out of town with our domestic water provided by the town. Previously, the town provided a 10,000 gallon per month allowance for a monthly fee of about $55. That included several debt repayment charges. Now, the "base" will be about $53 with an additional charge of over $4 per 1,000 gallons of usage. If we use the same 10,000 gallons per month that was included in the old $55 charge, our new monthly charge will almost double to $98! Percentage-wise it's pretty much the same for in-town users.
Remember when we were promised that after the debts were repaid the fees would be eliminated? Now, with the increase of the "base" to $53 those charges are no longer temporary -- they become permanent. No wonder the town experiences trust issues with its water customers. In addition to normal operating costs increases, thereby justifying some increase in rates/fees, the town's funds continue to subsidize the golf course. Over the years, the town has loaned to the golf course hundreds of thousands of dollars. And, the town has written off those debts. It continues to subsidize golfers with low greens fees and cart rentals. Who paid for those write-offs? We did. Who pays for golfers to enjoy low greens fees? We do.
The town has consistently increased water and sewer rates to pay for the write-offs and regardless of the town's efforts, the golf course still cannot generate enough income to pay for its operating expenses. So the town continues to rob Peter to pay Paul! There are indeed some benefits to having the golf course. The question is: Are they worth it to the average resident? And, a further question is: Who is best able to pay for those benefits? The golfers? Or, the many Cedaredge residents living minimal Social Security benefits or income assistance programs. The DCI should be applauded for calling out the Town of Cedaredge for putting its spin on these large and onerous increases. The town seems to have purposely misled its constituents. A sad state of affairs.
Ed and Peggy