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Is your city flooding your water bill?
Letter to the editor

Editor, Did you know that your city penalizes you when you turn on the sprinklers, water the flowers, wash your car, or fill the pool for your kids? If you look at your monthly utility bill, you will see charges for water usage and wastewater (sewer) usage. Both are determined by the amount of water that goes to your property, even if that water does not go into the wastewater system. This is a hidden source of income for the cities.

Most people do not even pay attention to this line item unless they use a lot of water outside of the house. The wastewater charge could be greater than the cost of the water itself. For example, Midway charges a base rate of $12.48 for water and $22.62 for wastewater.

Your city will claim that they have to use the amount of water that flows into your house as their basis for wastewater charges, as there is no system in place that can determine the actual amount of water that enters the wastewater system. This is not true, as other cities have a better way to charge for wastewater.

For instance, in Austin, Texas, the city takes the three coldest months and averages out the amount of water that flows into the house. They figure that their residents do not water their lawn in December, January and February. Therefore, all water used is going into the wastewater system during these three months.

This average then becomes the homeowner’s wastewater bill for each of the other nine months. The city of Austin believes that all water used over this average is not going into the wastewater system, but used for outdoor activities.

This is a fair system, which does not penalize those of us who water our lawns and fill our pools. Does this difference in wastewater calculations amount to much? It depends. I live in Midway, and my wastewater bill is $25.80 higher for August than January. Am I being cheated? Of course, the Midway City Council doesn’t want to discuss this equitable solution. I tried.

You might want to review your water/wastewater bill and approach your city council to stop billing you for water that does not enter the wastewater system. It never fails that politicians use every excuse to take money out of our pockets.

News just reached me that shows how city governments rip you off. A neighbor owns a small apartment building in Midway with a single water meter, as the water is included in the renters’ monthly rent. Two of the four apartments are used only for storage and one is unoccupied, yet the landlord’s water bill is $160-plus a month when no water was used. Come to find out, the city of Midway was charging the minimum rates for each apartment even though there is a single meter. This is outright wrong!

Len Calderone

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