Won't fly in this community
I really don't care what other communities are paying for utilities. What I care about is that we pay what is fair and reasonable. That means rates that cover operating costs plus enough profit to cover contingencies and a bit for future growth. The council should ask for some specifics, and the utilities should have the numbers at their fingertips since they better be using some real numbers before asking for raises. Straight forward numbers should be: What did they spend last year providing customer service? Did utility fees cover that cost plus the extra to cover contingencies and growth? What do the utility providers expect to change from last year that supports an increase?
If there are hard numbers to support a rate increase, share them with the consumers and they will go along with rate growth, lack of real figures should kill the whole issue. "Give me some money and I will do good things" won't fly in this community as we have been burned and are rightfully cautious.
Michael S. Welsh, Colorado Springs
When is this going to end?
For the first time in the many years that I have lived in Colorado Springs (since 1975), I attended a City Council meeting Nov. 12. This meeting was held to discuss the rate increase that Utilities is asking for. I found the meeting very informative. Following is a list of comments that I heard during this meeting. It seems that during the last 16 years there have been 15 rate increases for Utilities. Some people talked about the Southern Delivery System water pipeline, known as the SDS project. It seems that this was first approved because they had thought that the Banning Lewis Ranch, east of the city, was going to be developed and house up to 175,000 additional residents, but this never materialized. Therefore, somebody asked the wisdom of continuing with this project since the projected increase in users never materialized.
Then a representative of Utilities asked the City Council to approve the purchase of land necessary to build a reservoir to hold the water that will be coming through the new pipeline. One of the members of the audience presented some data stating that the appraised value of the land to be purchased was many times less than the price that Utilities had negotiated to pay.
Nevertheless, the City Council approved the much larger amount for the purchase. Then somebody asked how many Utilities' employees make more than $100,000 per year and what amount of employees were to receive a raise in salary. The Utilities said that their CEO makes more than $276,000 a year, plus over $30,000 in bonuses, but they did not know how many people were to get raises or how many employees make over $100,000 a year. They said that they would find out and have the answers after the recess. I did not stay to find out because I had something else to do. It seems that according to The Gazette rate comparison published Nov. 11, Colorado Springs average monthly rate would be $201.85 while Denver's would be $163.17.
So, I ask, aren't we all tired of continuously being asked to pay more taxes, to pay higher costs of medical insurance and now also to pay higher rates for Utilities? I say enough is enough. Write an email to your City Council representative and tell them what you think.
Nani Aspinwall, Colorado Springs
They alone own Obamacare
The Gazette front page says that insurance carriers sent out 250,000 cancellation notices to Coloradans. I blame Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet. They both voted for the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Udall is up for re-election in 2014 and he is crying the blues to President Obama. Before the vote on the ACA, I went to a meeting Sen. Bennet hosted at CSU Pueblo. He stood in front of a room full of constituents and told us that he would not vote for the ACA if it cost taxpayers money. I wonder who is paying all those subsidies so people can get "free" health insurance? Our two senators and the Democrats are responsible for the ACA rollout fiasco. They alone own Obamacare. Hopefully, informed voters will remember that fact in future elections.
Mitchell Baldwin, Peyton