New Water Rates | Council Says 3% ; City Staff Raises it an Average of 8% ~ 10% & In Some Cases as High as 22%

With Substantial Discounts for those high use users that do not conserve

Councilman Ford had warned other Councilmen that this plan would be a Train Wreck


newtonto : Tracy Riehm
Thank you, I will keep in mind that they are not validated, fortunately I will not be setting the rates with that data.
“Also, I would like to point out that page ES-29 shows tiered rates for water to encourage conservation.”
I understand that that was the objective but as you can see the total bill being less than it was it sure does not seem to discourage the waste of potable water or encourage (with substantial savings) conservation.
The end result of a total bill is what speaks here, and to the bill paying citizens. It will never be understood more than the bottom line what went up or down and why.
The basic questions are still;
Why did a 3% increase raise my bill 7% ?
Why does someone spraying drinking water on their grass get a reduction in their total bill?
Why does it appear the small users on fixed incomes are paying 7 to 10% more to subsidize the reductions of the wasteful users?

Tracy_ReOn 5/5/2015 4:14 PM, Riehm, Tracey wrote:
Good afternoon Newton,
I’m sorry for the delay, as it took us awhile to run these reports. I caution against relying upon them, as they are not validated or used by us.
Also, I would like to point out that page ES-29 shows tiered rates for water to encourage conservation.
The increase in the total bill for the smaller residential user comes primarily from the fact that under the old resolution the first 1,000 gallons of sewer was exempted from a charge (the user paid only the base fee), and now each 1,000 sewer pays the charge (in addition to a base fee).
Please feel free to call if I can answer any questions
Tracey Riehm
City of Port Orange
Finance Director
T: 386.506.5710
F: 386.506.5711

newtonFrom: Newton White []
Sent: Tuesday, May 05, 2015 12:01 PM
To: Riehm, Tracey; Fenwick, Robin
Subject: Fwd: RE: Water rates
Yes please run the report.
Thank you for refreshing me with the rate study report.
Am I correct the the rate increase was closer to 5.9% and adjustments such as eliminating the wastewater charge for use over 12,000 gallons?
With the intention of a 3% increase in overall revenue?
Thus it was not a 3% rate increase, but a 3% revenue increase that required causing total bill amounts to rise by as much as 10% as illustrated by the chart I made from your supplied rate sheets?
I and some council were under the impression that this was a 3% rate increase that would impact minimally. What we have does not seem to achieve the goal of “fair, reasonable (equitable)” as I highlighted it in the report. In two parts, first the least volume users are hit with the highest total bill increases, and the largest users are actually paying less in total. As a side note it rewards households with lower cost that are using precious potable water to irrigate lawns, refill leaking pools, and have not maintained efficient plumbing, while charging more to users that may have invested thousands in low flow fixtures, low use toilets, and washing machines.
According to data in the rate study the anticipated use per customer is 3900 gallons which puts the total bill increase at about $4.25 a month or around 7%. The information I asked for (because of council members that asked if I knew) would help us to see how many people are actually paying less per month as a result of the rate increase.

——– Forwarded Message ——–
RE: Water rates
Tue, 5 May 2015 14:36:15 +0000
From: Fenwick, Robin <><>
Tracy_ReTo: Newton White <><>, Riehm, Tracey <><>
Please see Tracey’s response below:
I could run a report in the HTE system, but we do not use it because its results were questionable. We have not had an opportunity to re-evaluate and test it in the recent past, so we simply do not rely on it.
In addition, the amount of water used by a household is impacted by the month and the weather.
I have attached the rate study from PRMG as well as the presentation that was given to Council.
Please let me know if Mr. Newton wants the report, even though we do not believe it to be reliable.

[Description: Description: PO email]
From: Newton White []
Sent: Monday, May 04, 2015 9:34 AM
newtonTo: Riehm, Tracey; Fenwick, Robin
Subject: Water rates
I have attached a pdf of a table for the rate increases and decreases by usage compiled from the rate sheets I received last week. I would like a little more information as do the councilmen I have spoken to already.
Could we see a chart of the number and or percentage of customers in each usage level?
How many homes do we have using each amount of water?
I understand the workload but I plan on bringing this to council Tue. night and would like to have the answer or at least you be ready as two councilmen have already asked if I had the requested data.
Thank You,
Newton White


2 thoughts on “New Water Rates | Council Says 3% ; City Staff Raises it an Average of 8% ~ 10% & In Some Cases as High as 22%

  • May 6, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Marvelous! We reward non conservation of one of the worlds most precious resources. Pass the increase on to our Social Security recipients. Maybe we need classes for council members to understand what the hell the arey really voting for. When Newton laid the facts on them the stupid looks on their faces was priceless. Bob Ford warned them all. Shame on them!

  • May 7, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Looks like Ted Noftal can’t read and decipher his own water bill! Yet another loud cry of wolf by Ted! Brilliant!
    From Manager Harden:
    There was actually no increase in your water charge because the water energy charge that was on your March bill got included in the base rate on your April bill..
    From: Ted Noftall []
    Sent: Thursday, May 07, 2015 4:21 PM
    To: Bob Ford;; Drew Bastian; Green, Allen; Scott Stiltner
    Cc: Harden, David; Riehm, Tracey
    Subject: If a 22 % Increase was envisioned – IT CERTAINLY WAS NOT DISCLOSED
    Mayor and Council
    As the attached W&S bill illustrate the City’s efforts in tinkering with the W&S rates have resulted in a 22 % increase for hundreds of minimum use customers, many of whom are least able in our society to pay these outrageous increases.
    If this was your intention it was never disclosed.
    And if was not your intention then this is yet another in the long series painful lessons City residents are paying for senior staff incompetence in a system where there is no incentive to not screw-up because ultimately no one is held responsible or accountable for anything.
    What is going on here Don, Drew and Scott. Bob Ford voted against this W&S rate increase and he told you he was doing so because this was all an unintelligible cajumble in terms of what was being assumed would happen. On what basis did you ignore his math abilities and vote as you did other that you are all far to gullible in buying what the Manager is selling.
    Are you three amigos all resigned to the expectation that the never ending screw-ups cannot be prevented and the best you can do is put on a happy face. Is that what’s going on. Tell me please, because if it is not happy face time then I am wondering:
    * When are you going to start insisting that complex matters receive more than incomplete sophomoric analysis and half baked presentations from your overpaid department heads ?
    * When are you going to realize that consultants are not a viable substitute for the requisite expertise required of those department heads, AND that department heads need to possess the requisite expertise and ability to fully comprehend the work product of those consultants ??
    * And finally when are you going to take action on a disaster zone Finance department that has been in one failed state or another since at least the late 1990’s when customer service cash thefts in the $500,000 range demonstrated that lax internal controls had found a comfortable home which has never been vacated ???
    The time is long past for the parade of excuses that follows right behind the parade of screw-ups to come to an end.
    The God fearing law abiding hard working taxpaying residents who are the heart and soul of the community we have all chosen to live in deserve nothing less, AND they certainly do not deserve this latest W&S rate increase boondoggle.
    Ted Noftall
    for angry government – 2016


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