In response to Milford Water Bill

This letter was submitted in response of the letter published on September 8, 2009 titled Water bills to increase $25.00.

Council voted to raise the water bill tonight by 6 dollars on sewage. Also raised the rates on above minimum usage, or per gallon rates up to 6/1000g for water, and 5/1000g for sewer. Increase of 2 on water to 4000, then 1 dollar/1000; and 3 on sewer/1000.

The budget process in Milford requires that two budgets be balanced. One is General Fund (city business) and the other is Water/Sanitation Fund (self-explanatory). The problem facing Milford is that for far too long, the water rate has remained flat. The water department has slowly moved things like payroll over to the general fund in order to balance. That works, but isn’t right. When the state came in and said that they want our ticket revenues that are in excess of 30% of total revenues, Milford lost a key source of income. This law only applies to towns under 5,000 population, and Milford doesn’t generate much revenue with our one store and antique shop. Maybe next year will be better with two restaurants hoping to open. The point is that if we had more revenue, then we could keep more of our ticket earnings. Similar to Italy with lots of business, it takes a while to get 30% of revenue from the highway. In milford it takes about a week (sarcasm).

So just to set the record straight, the city is not paying state fines with water bills. The city is balancing the budget and moving salaries to their proper funds to avoid a future pickle. The budget now requires a long overdue rate increase to compensate water department employees, a 5% grant match to make major improvements (5%=17,500), and an increasing cost of everything in general. Divide that up among 290 some odd meters and voilah! You now have your new water bill.

The reason council opted for the per gallon increase is due to the fact that people who used less than 6000 gallons paid for more water than they used, and those who were over 6000 gallons used about twice what they paid for. This is an attempt to keep the miserly user from subsidizing the wasters in town. Hopefully, The 6 dollar increase will not hurt the efficient minded people too much and those who pull in to a rain forest atmosphere after work won’t mind paying for what they use. As a side note, about 2/3 of the population falls in the under 6000 gal category. Only 1/3 will see a major increase, but keep in mind that a base water bill of 69 dollars covers 2000 gallons. We have consistently about 10 users that use over 20,000 gallons. That makes up 12% of city usage, but only 6% of sales. The minimum users are at 7.5% used and foot 21% of the bill. Numbers are rounded and pulled from Sept of 2008.

One suggestion was made to cut the police force to one officer, and was shot down by numerous citizens standing up and telling of their gratitude for our police force, and stories of ‘how it used to be’. Pretty uplifting moment, In my opinion.

I just don’t want to see any slanderous reports about raising the water bill to pay a fine. You have a fine publication and I will continue to read and contribute my thoughts.

Also note that a letter was sent to the attorney general questioning the legality of the 30% law and its application to small towns only.

Comment from Robert Sollers, September 10, 2009 1:24pm

Dear Editor,

So, let me get this straight. The Milford Police are on I-35 writing tickets to passers-by, perpetuating the speed-trap reputation of friendly Milford, instead of patrolling the actual town to protect its citizens, who are now having to pay extra for their water to help pay-back money to the State which was illegally accumulated by the same Police who are on the Freeway instead of patrolling the town. Umm, if a citizen takes money he is not entitled to take, that is theft, and results in Jail time. However, it appears that if the Police do it it is ‘just a mistake’ and can be remedied by charging the taxpayer more for water. This seems like fraud to me. Is our Government corrupt all the way from 1600 Pennsylvania to tiny Milford, Texas? Rome truly is falling again.

Robert Sollers
Italy, Texas