Sunday, September 27, 2020

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR & CITY COUNCIL

 

 

To the Editor

My wife and I walk around Mackle Park on a daily basis. This summer we have observed the transformation of the Park from a largely swampy and bare field to what appears to be world class playing fields. We have seen how the kids love these fields.

We are confident they will flock in even greater numbers to the new fields. Marco Island has made a bold investment in our city’s youth. My hat is off to the City Council for having the foresight and courage to appropriate the money for this. Special recognition should be given to the Parks and Recreation Department which has managed this project with professional aplomb. Young families considering a move to Marco Island will be amazed and captivated by the beauty of these fields. It is another reason to take pride in where we live.

– Barry Gwinn

 

Letter to City Council

Just read a news report about your vote to raise utility rates.

I had hoped to attend your 8/19 meeting but was out of town. And I won’t be on Marco for your next meeting.

As I understand it, you voted on an “intent” to increase rates without a final determination on the specifics — amount and distribution.

I’ve written to three council members previously and testified years ago when the matter of rate equity was first discussed. I attended many meetings where the study consultant (Burton ) demonstrated rate designs which would achieve equity amongst various user classes. The city decided, in hiring the consultant, that equity in rate making was the goal. The consultant, using utility industry accepted standards, provided very clear and specific formulas. Adjustments are needed amongst the classes. No one disagrees.

Yet, the current proposal for uniform increases perpetuates the inequities! Why? After spending $100,000 + on the consultant, and perhaps thousands of hours of Council time as well as time put in by the Utility Advisory Committee and numerous citizens who attended and spoke at meetings, Council appears to be choosing to dismiss all of this fine work and effort and is leaning towards an across the board uniform rate increase without any justification.

Indeed, if state regulation for rate matters applied to the city as it does for other private entities, the Public Service Commission would demand justification for a uniform rate increase (as well as the amount), would certainly see the inequity amongst user classes, and would insist on a rate structure which would achieve an equitable distribution of costs and the resultant revenue requirement.

And to make matters worse, it appears that Council is considering the perpetuation of this inequity for several future years, proposing uniform increases for all classes.

Why has Council decided to abandon an equitable rate making policy? Why has Council chosen, apparently, to have certain classes of customers subsidize other classes (primarily single family residences)?

Council has no justification for uniform rate increases and would be derelict in its responsibilities related to fairness for all should uniform rate increases be enacted.

I attended one Council meeting some time ago when a councilman asked the city attorney what the consequences might be should Council not adopt the rate structure found to be equitable by the consultant . The attorney suggested the city could be subject to a lawsuit. Is this the risk you intend to take?

I urge you to consider seriously what you are about to do. And the consequences on individual rate payers as well as the city. Do what you know is the right thing to do. Adopt the equitable rate structure Council had designed by its consultant.

Dick Riegler

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