A while back everyone was broadsided by the increase in sewer fees. People with pools and sprinklers were especially hit hard as the way the city is calculating the usage it assumes that every drop of water ends up going into the sewer. If you are watering your yard or are filling your swimming pool this is not the case.
The interesting thing about sewer fees is they are not a tax - they are a fee. A politician can raise them while telling people they "didn't raise a tax" but it does allow for them to take more of your money and spend it.
It also hides the total cost of owning a home for future home buyers. We have seen several people over the years angry when they get their first water bill after moving into a new home on NextDoor.com and Facebook etc. This is especially bad for a new home buyer that has stretched their budget to afford as much house as possible.
How many times have we been told we can afford something without raising taxes? First the 50 Million dollar bond that was defeated and now the new $52-$60 million dollar bond to refinance the original bond plus to build a $22-30 million dollar new High School.
If we were in such good economic shape why did the city feel the need to increase sewer fees 29% to raise an additional $290,000 per year? Because "capital improvement projects are unable to be funded without incurring additional debt". Don't take our word for it. Take theirs:
When the city was confronted over the increase they told the citizens that the way the sewage was being billed they felt was illegal. As of now even with Lakeland changing the way they bill us there are no other local cities that also came to the conclusion that the was they were calculating usage was also illegal.
The reason they changed the way the usage was calculated was to raise more money because without raising the fees they cannot afford additional sewage projects.
Currently we are paying almost 1 Million Dollars a year in interest right now on loans, and the city needs to raise an additional $290,000 in annual sewer fees to be able to afford to expand the sewage system BUT we can afford another 22-30 million dollar in debt to build a High School????
Information from the following article: http://www.lakelandtn.gov/documentcenter/view/6182