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Letter: Bismarck water rates should be reevaluated

Letter: Bismarck water rates should be reevaluated

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Residents are stopping lawn watering as it is too expensive. Multi-family (condos, twin homes, duplexes, apartments), commercial, retirement homes, and trailer parks watered at much less cost. Just why is that? Those users are on a single tier rate of $1.62 for multi-family and $1.85 for commercial compared to $6.95 that residents pay for the 19th unit of water. A consultant analyzed water use data from a single year (2016) for 17,306 residential and 4,280 other users. Public Works held eight meetings for stakeholders, but excluded residential. Disinformation affecting the rate process were: Residential owners were not notified of meetings. Public Works said notice was on water bills -- not true. Consultant reported that annually the 17,306 residents used 43% and 4,280 others used 57% of water used. City said otherwise (Public Works web page). Data analysis were severely confounded by not correcting for number of users in each group resulting in erroneous conclusions. During high lawn watering month residents used essentially the same as the other users. So who is subsidizing who? City send letters to residential users -- how many letters went to the others that used 57% of the water? The letter implied residents overwater their lawns, no data were presented on overwatering, just conjecture. Conclusions used in setting the tier structure were not data supported. To be fair all users should be on same rate structure. The City did a disservice to the residents by favoring commercial, multi-family, and others at their expense. Its unfair and reeks of biases. To the City: keep the rates if you want, if so then adjust the others to the residential rates. To be fair, an open and transparent reevaluation of the water use rate structure in Bismarck is sorely needed.

Albert Frank, Bismarck


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