Published: July 5, 2013
Picking the winners and losers
An agreement; verbal, written or implied, means nothing to Colorado Springs Utilities. They continue to be an unfettered organization, which does as it pleases to support their bloated budget.
We had our home built in 1994 with an implied agreement of the water rates. Over the last 15 years, there has been a steady increase in water rates. Then SDS erased all semblance of fairness and reason.
During the previous drought there were two day watering limitations. No surprise to many of us; Utilities increased the water rates to make up for the lost revenue from lower water usage. Guess what? Utilities never moved those rates back to original levels, when rainfall returned to somewhat seasonal levels, including snowpack.
Why are homeowners with larger properties being penalized? This is like changing the rules during the game to make sure some people are paying to keep Utilities with the same stream of revenue. Utilities is picking winners and losers! Losers are people who bought and maintained bigger homes and lawns; now Utilties penalizes them, big time, for them to maintain their investment. We no longer have the corporate level salary, but live on SSI and our savings.
Utilities used to be a fair, well-managed organization. Now they are into public relations, marketing their monopoly and finding ways to pay for their status quo. I see no evidence of Utilities belt tightening. Plus City Council continues to be the rubber stamp for their schemes. Kudos to at least two council members who balked, including Don Knight.
Duane C. Slocum, Colorado Springs
Increase watering to three days
In reference to The Gazette's opinion article dated Tuesday June 25: "Choosing winners and losers with special water rates."
I agree with the opinion from The Gazette, no one should receive special treatment where water rates have been established during these trying times.
However I would like to suggest that we be allowed to water (three) times per week instead of twice per week because I believe this will save water as well as some of our yards.
I cannot afford to change my yard and go with zero landscape, nor can I afford to let my yard die, which would lower the value of my property.
Here is how I would save water by being allowed to water three times per week.
When I water on my two scheduled water days Sunday and Wednesday I have to water the allowed three hours twice per week for a total of six hours. The important thing is not to exceed Tier 2 or 1,999 cubic feet of water.
When I water three days per week I get better coverage and the yard does not burn and I don't use as much water. I set the timers for 15 minutes front and back for a total of 30 minutes per day, or 90 minutes per week. However I must stay with in the requirements of not to exceed Tier 2.
John Thordsen, Colorado Springs
Pricing is downright criminal
The current department of utilities water pricing policy is not only unfair, it is down right criminal. I don't know where to go for help and would only hope the Colorado Springs City Council or Mayor Steve Bach will step up and do what is right for the citizens who are adversely affected by this disastrous policy. I have lived at my present address since 1979 and my lot is large - ? of an acre.
During the last drought, I took out 2,000 square feet sod and installed a drip system to irrigate my plants and scrubs. Last year I upgraded my sprinkler system to be more efficient. During the last billing period I followed the rules and only watered my lawn twice a week and I did not stand at the end of a hose to supplement watering my lawn.
Over the years I have spent approximately $50,000 on landscaping so I could have a home to be proud of and to enjoy in my retirement. Now my wife and I are fully retired living on a fixed income and we got hit with a $503.98 water bill; Tier 3 with a nice penalty.
As a United States Air Force retiree, it pains me to say I've lost faith in our federal government and our state government to do what is right for the citizens who are really paying the tax bills; now it appears I will add my local municipal government to that list.
To any elected officials who read this letter please remember; charging one person more money for the same product or service than another because of their station in life or ability to pay is socialism and redistribution of wealth.
I've been around long enough to know that when money is involved, politicians, at all levels, are willing to compromise their integrity, and once this practice is begun, it is like a snow ball rolling down hill.
Fix this problem by charging everyone the same price for the amount of water they use. If it is necessary to raise the rates to discourage high use or restrict watering times to conserve resources, fine, but don't penalize me for following the rules with this unfair pricing policy.
Stanley "Skip" Cahn, Colorado Springs
Why allow new taps and permits?
Would someone please explain why, when many of us are losing our lawns because of the extreme water restrictions, our city leaders continue to allow new water taps and permits for all the multiple dwelling homes and apartments being built.
If there isn't enough water for the existing homes how can there possibly be enough water for all of the new builds all over our city?
It is as much about revenue from water usage as it is about water consumption.
Jim Deitrick, Colorado Springs