It’s unfortunate but not surprising that an initiative calling for a rollback of sewer rates gathered enough valid signatures to proceed. After all, City Councilwoman Donna Westfall only needed 171 registered city voters to sign up.
It’s not that city residents will sign just anything. Westfall needed more than 400 signatures for her ill-advised attempt to recall fellow Council members, and didn’t come close.
The sewer-rate rollback will almost certainly find more supporters if it makes it onto a ballot. A chance to save money on sewer rates? Why not?
The problem is that this initiative seeks to defy reality. The expansion of our sewage treatment plant is nearly finished, yet Westfall proposes wiping out the rate increases that were required to pay for it. How, then, would the city meet its financial obligations? That apparently is not her concern.
The city has little choice but to challenge the legality of an initiative that, if approved, would almost certainly force it to default on its state loan for the plant expansion.
Bottom line: Once again we must spend time and money dealing with distracting antics instead of focusing on the real issues facing Crescent City.