Local View: Don’t get stuck on rate-hike roundabout
Caution! There may be a roundabout coming to your neighborhood soon. No, not the one used to replace controlled intersections, but the kind utilities use to force rate increases on Duluth's overburdened property owners. Last year's rate roundabou...
Caution! There may be a roundabout coming to your neighborhood soon.
No, not the one used to replace controlled intersections, but the kind utilities use to force rate increases on Duluth's overburdened property owners. Last year's rate roundabout involved electricity; before that it was natural gas. Next up: the water department.
How many more of these annual events must retired folks on fixed incomes endure?
- SEE ALSO: Our View: Be heard on water rate hike
Curiously, the first sign reads, "30 percent rate hike ahead." That's really sticker shock, so to entice you onto that rate-hike roundabout, another sign reads, "4.7 percent to 5 percent increase." But that doesn't say that's every year until you find the exit ramp. The utilities hope you just keep going in circles, paying that 5 percent more each year forward. Five years minimum on the rate-hike roundabout probably would be the least-time scenario.
We're suddenly being told Duluth's water-delivery infrastructure is in total shambles (or words to that effect in the May 24 story, "City cites aging infrastructure in ask for increase").
I suggest the city take a ticket and stand in line behind the steam heating utility and others at the state Legislature in hoping for bonding money. Replacing two to five miles of pipes per year isn't getting it done. Aim for a bonding proposal of, say, $50 million (or more) and maybe have the wherewithal to dig up all the pipes - and don't forget the faulty sewer lines, as well.
Just be sure to use high-quality piping destined to last 100 years. That way I won't have to worry about this again until I'm 171 years young.
On second thought, I faintly recall the last time Duluth undertook a "do-it-all-at-once" project: The School Board's Red Plan. You know that outcome.
Perhaps just a conventional traffic roundabout isn't so bad after all.
Jim H. Unden lives in Duluth. He was a candidate for Duluth School Board in 2015.