In September 2009, I wrote a letter to the editor that began like this:
“Take pride the next time you’re in Baskin-Robbins and the person at the front of the line takes 45 minutes to decide between a sugar and a cake cone. You are privileged to be witnessing exceptional decision-making skills similar to those possessed by Midway City Council members.”
My letter addressed the Midway City Council’s inability to make a simple decision to install two street lights in Lake Gale.
I observed firsthand the council’s inept processing of the current proposal to increase the water and sewer rates. It concerns and saddens me that, apparently, nothing has changed in the five years since that letter.
In June and throughout July, the council consulted with several experts, including William Powell, CEO of West Shore Consulting Inc.; Anthony King of Kidwell & Company Inc.; and Mr. Ronald Kolat, a city of Midway engineer, on a study to review and update water and sewer rates. In spite of all this expert advice, the city council still couldn’t get it right.
City Finance Director Gwendolyn Lowe briefed the council on a proposed increase of $1.3 million for a new well. Yet according to several experts, there was no guarantee the new well would produce water suitable for drinking. What would be the impact on Midway’s citizens? Using the figures discussed and presented to the council, I calculate water/sewer bills would increase by approximately 48 percent — going up by just about half.
It would appear that between July 31 and Aug. 11, someone convinced the council that 48 percent was exorbitant and would be intolerable to Midway customers. So, at the Aug. 11, 2014 meeting, new figures were introduced and approved unanimously by vote. This time when I calculated the newly approved rate, our bills would increase by 38 percent. It’s an improvement, but they were not through. The ineptitude continues.
At the Sept. 8 meeting, the council voted to rescind the rates they approved at the Aug. 11 meeting. They then voted to adopt new rates, which will result in an approximate 30 percent increase. Assuming they are finally finished, the new rates will go into effect in February. These figures are for residents within the city limits; those living outside could face more increases.
Many of you, like myself, probably have lost track of the number of times our water has reeked of sulfur. Does anyone believe the water/sewer quality we get in Midway is worth a 30 percent increase, let alone a 48 percent? Living in Hinesville for over four years, there was never a time when I questioned my water quality.
The percentage increases Midway’s City Council are considering are exorbitant and preposterous. I cannot imagine any municipality imposing an increase of such proportions on its citizens. Well, perhaps on second thought, I can.
In December 2010, the city was late mailing out water bills, and then the post office misplaced them. Many citizens did not receive their bills until the day they were due. Although the citizens were not at fault, Mayor Clemontine Washington and then-Councilman Lavern Clancy Jr. maintained that if the bills were not paid on time, late fees would apply, and 10 days later, the water would be shut off.
Why does the famous quote, “Let them eat cake,” keep coming to mind? Compassion is absent in Midway.
Doyle is an independent conservative who lives in Midway and is dedicated to efficient, open and ethical government.