Because I follow the news and because you read my blog, you know that in March, our water and sewer bills went up.
It was advertised as being 'necessary' to handle the infrastructure needs as well as the daily operational costs of the water department - along with a consent decree that was the result of a lawsuit with the EPA.
It was 'only'... they said.
Well, the result was a 71% increase in my water bill this quarter over last.
Yes, you read that correctly - 71%!
You can imagine my surprise when I opened my envelope to find that I owe $225.84 to City of Toledo, compared to the $127.46 that I owed in January. My first thought was that I had a water leak somewhere. But in looking at my usage, I found I was charged for only 2 more CCFs this quarter - so a water leak was not the issue.
There was a nice little note at the bottom of the bill (conveniently titled ***** For Your Information *****) explaining that, as of March 18, 2011, the water rates went up 9%, the sewer volume rates went up 3% and the sewer fixed rate went up 3% PLUS a sewer fixed increase to fund the EPA lawsuit consent decree. But should that result in $100 more???
I deducted the cost of the two extra CCF units in order to compare my bill and know for sure. And yep - my bill, minus those two units would have been $218.26 which is 71% more than the $127.46 than I owed in January. I did try to call the DPU, but, surprisingly, their recording said they were experiencing "extremely high call volume" and I was 30th in line.
There are just three of us in the house - can you imagine what a larger family, or one with small kids who do lots of laundry, will have to pay? Fortunately, we have the financial wherewithal to handle this with some adjustments elsewhere - but many families in Toledo don't. And even though our financial adjustments will be unwelcome and inconvenient - for others, it will be a major sacrifice.
So much for the 'it's only' ....
Thanks Toledo City Council - let's see how many more people leave because your decisions.