Once again, we are suffering thebad decisions of our leaders. The City Council said in the past that they would charge sewer hook-up fees that would pay for the expansion ofour sewer. They did not do this. Instead they raised our rates and used that money to expand the sewer without fixing it. Now they say they need more money to expand again and finally fix it right. (andquot;Residents call for vote on rate hike,andquot; Sept. 5)

If you are like me, you know we need a good sewer. But how many times do you want to pay for a sewer you already have?

So here is our problem as I see it: The city is raising our sewer bills again, and I do not believe them anymore. They say the 4- or 5-year-old andquot;cease and desist orderandquot; is still in effect, but it has not stopped expansion. It has not caused them to restrict building to the city limits. It has not caused them to respect and protect our current sewer users.

In addition to this, we now see the deck is stacked against us. We do not get a vote on the rate increases. The only way to stop this ever-increasing bill is to get 50 percent of all parcel owners (not sewer customers) plus one to write and complain.

The deck is stacked, because a large number of parcel owners have renters in their houses who will pay the sewer bills, thereby giving the parcel ownersan improved sewer for free. So why would theywrite a letteragainst it? And even if we do get 50 percent plus one complaints, who is going to count them and check them against the parcel titles? This project involves large debt obligations. Would you want the counting responsiblity?

We are told that we have 45 days to try and stop the rate increase from the time the notice got sent out last Thursday. I'm not sure, but it looks like that means our chance to stop this rate increaseends two days before the public meeting on Oct. 15. I do hope I am wrong about this.

Now, I know we need a good sewer. I do not want our city shutdown by the State of California, and I do not want toilet water dumped untreatedinto our ocean and onto our beaches. I do not want the city forced into bankrupcy. But I sure do wish we could believe that this City Council would, once and for all,stop expanding this sewer and start fixing it. I might even be glad if I could just believe them.

James R. Barrett

Crescent City