Water Rate Hike: DCs Initial Reaction

Those who live in apartments would face a far higher increase, in many cases more than 50 percent, although the degree to which those costs would be passed on to residents is harder to determine, since the city does not bill them individually.

Umm…I don’t like it and would have to agree with CM Jolanda Jones since I’m an apartment dweller.

“Most of the people in my family live in apartments, and they live in low-income apartments,” said Councilwoman Jolanda Jones, who grew emotional in speaking about the proposed increases. “They don’t have an additional $5, $10, $12 to pay their water bill. … This will have a practical impact on people, and I know there are some … they can’t make it.”

Now, a few adjustments here and there (not buying an extra bottle of wine during the week) and I can pay for the increase. Still, there are some practical questions that must be (and will be) asked:

  • Considering the fact that the vast majority of poor people in Houston reside in apartment complexes, why are they getting hit harder?
  • Are apartments treated the same as corporate and industrial water users who waste a lot more water? And why aren’t they treated like regular residences?

I guess one must look at the math that somehow ended up treating individuals in dwellings of a few hundred square feet a lot worse than a homeowner with an average of, what, 1500 square feet?  Is there balance in asking all Houstonians to sacrifice, in this case?

Of course, this will also raise questions about the budget and the looming cuts. A friend of mine pointed out the budget crisis in Los Angeles and their solution.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Tuesday for all city departments except those that protect public safety or make money to close two days a week because of a budget crisis.

Perhaps this should also be discussed by Council here in Houston, but is it enough?

And this just in by way of Twitter from KHOU reporter Alex Sanz.

Alex Sanz The Houston Public Library plans to scale back its hours of operation in the face of a $2.2 million budget shortfall. Announcement tomorrow.

Yes, there needs to be a lot of discussion on every little part of the budget.

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