Be sure to speak your mind about well water issue

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 8, 2004

Editor, the News-Herald:

It’s strange to find myself on the other side of the fence when once upon a time I spent several years writing for a local paper.

The caption &uot;Honey of a Deal&uot; on the front page of last Thursday’s paper was very intriguing. The article started Councilman Curtis Milteer questioned the city council in regard to the fairness of customers (Suffolk resident) having to pay connection fees to receive city water. It’s refreshing to find a person such as Milteer to use common sense and stand his ground.

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The city council wishes to purchase 10 private community well systems currently serving several neighborhoods in the city. Then the city wants to turn around and charge each resident $1,160 for this &uot;second&uot; hook-up fee. I for one agree with Milteer, why should the current homeowners have to pay connection fees twice and then some.

Many of my neighbors are retired or elderly living on a fixed income. Myself, I had to retire early due to health, not wealth reasons. Also, I and many other residents are still in the process of paying for hurricane damages that homeowners did not cover.

The article also states that our city council is willing $1.8 million to purchase 10 well that would cost between $250,000 and $500,000 at each site in order to come into compliance with water standards or build fluoride treatments at each well. Why would the city agree to pay that kind of money? What will become of the wells once purchased? Is the plan to upgrade them? If that is the case, then that would make as much sense as paying full price for a brand new car without a motor. Don’t forget that they want to charge 1,000 or more residents $1,160. If my memory serves me right, that should add up to over $1,600,000.

Also, the article stated all of the community well, owned by C&P Water System, have been in violation of safe fluoride limits since 2000. This brings another question to mind; wouldn’t you think when a company increases its water rates the increase would include treating the water?

For example, on July 1, 1999, C&P increased the fees for the Oakridge Subdivision from the existing rate (at that time) of $26.00 bi-monthly for the first 8,000 gallons to the new rate of $35.00 bi-monthly for the first 8,000 gallons. Then, on Nov. 1, 2002, the rate (for untreated water) in Oakridge was increased from $35.00 to $39.00 bi-monthly. That was two rate increases in two years and four months without any improvement in the water supply. Why is that? Just think; in the 1970s, the fees were $12.00 bi-monthly.

Another councilman was reported stating that the citizens would be getting back a higher quality of water. Would they? It’s been rumored that city water is high in sodium, and other health issues. What about the damage already occurred by children due to high fluoride and bone damage to residents, especially senior citizens? That same councilman also added that most (apparently not all) homeowner’s insurance rates would go down, but property values would go up.

Yes indeed. The city wants you to pay the $1,160 connection fee that will increase your property values, which will increase your taxes. Does all of this sound like a &uot;Honey of a Deal&uot; for you? If not, then stand behind Milteer, who feels this is unfair. Plan to speak your mind at the next city council meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 18 in the Municipal Building on Market Street.

Bee Norris