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Home arrow Opinion arrow Letters arrow Letters to the editor June 5, 2014

Letters to the editor June 5, 2014

Undeterred by challenges of protesting rate increases

Seven years ago I protested the $42.5 million sewer upgrade/expansion. The questions in my mind before ever going on the City Council were:

Was the one and only bid by Wahlund fixed? Why did they start construction before doing a Prop 218 protest vote? How was a community of less than 30,000 people with about 3,800 people on sewer going to afford to pay $42.5 million? Why should the ratepayers be compelled to pay when the 11.8 percent expansion figure was pure fiction? Developers have to pay for expansion.

The affordability was as valid a question seven years ago as it is today because as predicted the City of Crescent City cannot figure out how to keep the sewer enterprise fund out of the red. Rate increases will consistently be passed by a Council out of touch with their public.

Those responsible for stopping the incessant rate increases fall into two categories: Owners of properties and ratepayers responsible for paying the sewer bill. Only one vote per parcel will be counted. It’s simple on paper. It’s labor-intensive in actuality to get the correct 1,700 people to sign. It’s not a matter of will enough people sign. The issue is having enough people out there gathering the signatures because, surprisingly to us, many people of the public did not know anything about a rate increase.

To avoid the problems from prior protests, signature gatherers were instructed to get the right people to sign. As an example, calls had to be made to clarify such things as, “Are you the ratepayer or is your boyfriend?” Turns out more time had to be spent going back and getting the boyfriend’s signature.

When people of the public are disappointed about yet another lost protest vote, the question in my mind is why are you complaining instead of volunteering to collect signatures? There are tables to sit at, calls to make, funds to raise, advertising to place and dozens of other things besides just knocking on doors.

The next steps: To resurrect a taxpayers association and submit 89 valid 
signatures on a referendum to stop the sewer rate increase. Tables will be set up at the Water Department on J Street, the post 
office and my home at 937 J Street. We anticipate starting June 18 and ending June 20.

Donna Westfall, Crescent City

 

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