The Bee Branch Water Association (BBWA) is strongly opposed to the City of Clinton’s proposed 2% increase in water rates for the next five years for the following reasons:

BBWA has received a water rate increase every year for the past six years while the City of Clinton received one raise in 2010 over the same time period. BBWA is never given any cost analysis justifying these raises nor has it been provided any analysis of operating statements explaining the increases. It seems the City of Clinton is price discriminating its water rate increases.

BBWA has to pay for all the water it receives whether it is clean or dirty. BBWA receives no credits for dirty water it receives from Clinton. You can recall several years ago Clinton received bad bottled water from a supplier during one of their water outages. The city refused to pay for the bad water yet wants its biggest customer (BBWA) to pay for dirty water.

BBWA is a wholesale customer of Clinton and accounts for roughly 60% of Clinton’s water sales.

A wholesale customer should be buying water cheaper than the cost to the city’s retail customers. However, BBWA pays $3.27 per 1,000 gallons while some City of Clinton customers pay $2.50,$2.70, $3.00 and $3.03 for their first 4,000 gallons of usage. Rural customers are subsidizing the city customers.

BBWA has asked for extended terms of payment beyond 15 days and been denied. BBWA cannot collect all its water bills in 15 days and pay Clinton in a timely matter without borrowing money to pay its operating bills.

Even simple tasks such as reading the master meter cannot be done properly as February’s payment to Clinton includes 39 days of usage rather than the customary 30 days.

All we ask for is to be treated fairly. Rural water associations should not be subsidizing the city’s customers and its capital improvements as we have our own pump stations, water tanks and leaking lines we have to pay for by ourselves.

The real sad part of the story is that things are never done correctly in the first place. We are tired of being bullied and will have to resort to attorneys to correct past injustices and prevent their future occurrence.

Everyone will lose now as we both will have to pay attorney fees. I hope this situation can be resolved fairly without having to go to court. We should be all equal citizens of Van Buren County.

Nick Palangio

Chairman, Bee Branch Water Association