Making growth pay for itself!

Austinites Speak Out on Water Hikes

Here’s what Austinites who’ve signed the petition to the Austin City Council to stop the proposed 36% water rate hikes are saying:

Comment:

This city is already becoming less and less affordable for those who are low-wage earners. Some low-income residents have been here their whole lives but are being pushed out by gentrification and a lack of affordable housing. Our utility costs are outrageous.

This is especially unjust if we’re paying for expansion of the utility system due to growth from new developments. Those developers should have expansion costs rolled in. It’s ridiculous to ask Austinites who are already struggling to pay the way for the same developers who are squeezing them out of this city.

Comment:

An absurd waste of money at a time when money is scarce and needed for so many other things!

Comment:

Why don\’t you give us, the Austin citizens a say in your decisions? We can have all the input we want but it appears to all be cut and dried before all of the hoop-la speeches made at the meetings with the city council. I have never been active in the city council elections but you\’d better believe I\’m getting active NOW.We need changes FAST.

Comment:

I am writing to urge you to withdraw support for Water Treatment Plant #4, and to cancel any anticipated water rate increases to pay for it.

WTP4 is costly, risky and ill-conceived. If the city pursues it, only legal and environmental problems will follow, along with a horribly expensive water treatment plant that we can ill afford.

Comment:

Council Member Spelman laid out the water utility’s own data and by his calculations we will not need to build this plant for another four years; and with aggressive water conservation programs, rainwater harvesting and gray water use we may not need it at all.

Please do not burden the citizens of Austin with additional water rate increases at a time when the economy is in peril.

Sincerely appreciate your thought-full consideration

Comment:

You have appropriated $11,800,000 to the Jollyville Transmission Main project as of August 18th that will most likely not be needed. Wasteful spending and conservation drive water rates up. My water bill last month wasa $115 and my electric bill was $135. How can this be that water is as expensive as electricity? Pull the reins on this Jollyville project and please get some real answers before you pull the plug on a part of Austin that is undamaged from urban sprawl.

Comment:

Already our property taxes are overvalued so you can collect more taxes from homeowners while shielding commercial property owners from paying their fair share. Now even HIGHER property taxes are proposed. The last thing we need is more wasteful spending. Pare down! The six-figure salary city employees should have their salaries cut so they contribute their fair share to the budget problems. Quit putting this burden on the backs of already-suffering low- to medium-income Austinites.

Comment:

Remember, citizens of Austin are not getting pay increases anytime soon, if ever. Water is essential to all life forms, please consider the effects this will create…tax the heck out of beer, wine and cigarettes, millions of dollars in revenue but please refrain from taxing the most necessary element requirement to sustain life, remember your decision could affect your own families down the line, in the future!

Comment:

This is upsetting to me and most other Austin residents effected by the rate increases. The council members and Mayor Leffingwell are also residents of Austin – I fail to understand how you all could gladly suffer through such outrageous rate increases year after year after year, when those who voted for you cannot bear it. It’s time to put an end to the unnecessary rate increases!

Comment:

Instead, why not go after abusers who water needlessly on days they aren’t supposed to. I see these offenses almost every single day. The fines collected could be added to the treatment plant fund. We already pay so much. It’s just not fair to keep increasing our rates when in fact, usage has tapered off according to the latest reports.

Comment:

The American People have to balance their budgets by decreasing their spending and saving more!! Why is it that cities and states always over spend and then expect the people who are scrimping by to bail them out? Enough is Enough!!! Stop making excuses and balance your budget like the rest of us do.

Comment:

Be a leader instead of a follower for contractors. If you have any plans for reelection, stop this Water Treatment Plant #4 now.

Comment:

Also, where are the reminders about turning off the water while brushing one’s teeth and during showers (say, while shampooing), etc.

Comment:

Thanks for considering my views.

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It would be a lot cheaper if we just conserved water (like the twice a week watering schedule) instead of the increase.

Comment:

I really mean it … STOP RAISING OUR RATES> STOP SPENDING!!!

Comment:

The cost of living is high enough. Let new home builders pay for water treatment plants

Comment:

Developers… that are profitting at the expense of the taxpayers already living in Austin due to increasing demands on city services, should be paying for a new water treatment facility.

Comment:

In this period of belt-tightening, it is not responsible to add this additional burden to rate payers. Knowing how much we may use water in this scorching hot climate (for me, just to soak my foundation; I have allowed my lawn to die because I already cannot afford to water it). It is unreasonable to expect rate payers to take on yet another expense.

Comment:

There are countless strategies you could use to encourage the use of rainwater capture and stop new development to avoid the need for a new treatment plant.

Comment:

I live in a condo association that has one water meter for the entire association. I am tired of subsidizing other people’s water bills when I see excessive lawn watering going on daily. Conservation is the answer not another treatment facility.

Comment:

Think about the economic crisis we’re in. Should we go hungry to pay for more water to waste? Please give some consideration to those of us with limited income who pay more for food, medicine, and everything else.

Comment:

Growth should pay for itself and in most cases, it does not here, “Only in Austin”! Why should we, the tax payers have to pay in increased taxes and water/electric fees for the cost of developers greed? The city has been presented with viable plans to help reduce the budget shortfalls by requiring developers to pay their fair share, pay for their plan processing fees and so on. Instead, the CoA seems to feel the taxpayers pockets are bottomless and that people will simply roll over and pay up.

Comment:

Tax payers are already paying enough for poorly planned projects and our water rates have increased at alarming rates for more than 10 years. Please stop putting additional financial burden on taxpayers and citizens of Austin. Who are already strained by the poor economy and high cost of living in Austin. Let’s try other measures first, like conservation.

Comment:

I am adamantly opposed to any raising of water rates on Austin ratepayers once again in the upcoming budget cycle to pay for a $1 billion water treatment plant we may never need. Live within your budget. If there is no money there for it do not build it.

Comment:

I suggest that any water rate hikes be directed at commercial entities that use vast amounts of water for ornamental landscaping and irrigating golf courses!
Do not burden citizens with additional charges on a basic necessity. Golf courses and landscaping are non-essentials that should be taxed as other luxuries.

Comment:

I think the Council should abandon the “discretionary” spending. Cut the City managers salary, DEFINATELY NO RAISE. CUT CUT cut the waste.

I will not vote for any council member who votes to raise rates, especially now.

Comment:

With the current economic woes, taxpayers cannot afford any tax increases whether it be water, city, county, state, federal or energy, etc. Until the economy turns you need to do your job and hold costs down. It’s times like this that shows your character regarding fiscal responsibility. Back to the basics and the essentials…not frills. Zero, nada!

Comment:

I am an Austin voter, who votes in *every* election, no matter how “small.”

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Economically, it is a bad idea to raise taxes for something that is no necessary, overall when our income is shrinking.

Comment:

Also, stop the building of a underground tunnel shaft in the middle of our residential neighborhood that is contributing to this increase! Please look at alternate approaches.

Comment:

GROWTH WILL HAPPEN IN AUSTIN, BUT NOT LIKE WE HAVE KNOWN IT IN THE PAST. URBAN INFILL AND INNOVATIVE DENSITY SOLUTIONS, COUPLED WITH STRONG WATER CONSERVATION MEASURES AND ENHANCED GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE, IS SMART GROWTH, THE GROWTH WE NEED. EX-URBAN HOUSING TRACT AND RETAIL DEVELOPMENT WILL BE A THING OF THE PAST.
PLEASE CONSIDER THOUGHTFULLY AND BE A LEADER. NO MORE BUSINESS-AS-USUAL.

Comment:

Once a city reaches approximately 75,000 population, there is no way you can keep it from growing. You do not need to do anything to encourage growth because you can’t stop it once it reaches that size.

Comment:

I am also against the water project at Spicewood Springs Road that will result in 2-3 years of construction/dump truck traffic congestion, noise and pollution. I am especially concerned about the project impact on children walking &/or biking to Canyon Vista Middle School, which is on the proposed route of the construction vehicles.

Comment:

I am an Austin voter (and I vote!)and on a fixed income. I can’t take any more of these never-ending rate increases (or fees). Please consider the consequences to folks like me.

Comment:

I am an Austin voter and recently retired now living on 3/4 of my career income. Between property taxes and continuing increases in other necessities, I my have to leave my home.

Comment:

The Citizens of Austin have done their part to conserve water and energy. It is time that the Mayor and Council carefully check the statements of the Austin Water staff, in particular Greg Meszaros and Rudy Garza. Both have told different stories at different times. When the Mayor and Council put up with poor planning and inconsistent stories from the senior staff such as Mr. Meszaros and Mr. Garza, they rightfully draw the ire and disrespect of hard working citizens.

Comment:

I am an Austin voter and a NATIVE AUSTINITE.

DO THE RIGHT THING FOR THE TAXPAYERS IN THIS TIME OF ECONOMIC HARDSHIP.

Comment:

I have been an Austin voter for the last 33 years. Enough is enough.

Think of peoples’ hardships and forget politics.

Comment:

Stop this madness or give us an alternative to using water from the monopoly known as Austin Utilities!! I pay more for water here in Austin than I do to have water supplied to my ranch in Milam County with a fraction of the population density. Give us a voice in this before you take more of our money.

Comment:

You can’t stress conservation too much. It seems surprising to me that more isn’t said about St. Augustine grass– surely it is one of the major factors in water shortages.

Comment:

I have from the beginning opposed Water Treatment Plant 4. Bill Spelman gave an excellent presentation several months ago during a city council meeting. The research showed water usage has been on the decline for many years. I have been a resident of Austin for 35 yrs.

Comment:

I am an Austin voter. I do not support raising the cost of water service to build another water treatment plant. I DO SUPPORT MUCH MORE WATER CONSERVATION.

Comment:

Save taxpayers money and water! AND DON’T RAISE the property taxes – I am already overly burdened.

Growth should pay for itself. New housing, new commercial businesses, should pay a surcharge to cover the expense of the new treatment plant. My water usage has been reduced through several conservation methods. DON’T penalize me!

The following comments came from people without internet access.

Comment:

Hell no, no water increase.You already got more than what you really need.

Comment:

I am disabled, and I cannot afford to pay anymore as I can barely afford to pay my bills right now.

Comment:

I catch rainwater and don’t flush unless necessary – I already had a rate increase!

Comment:

I am furious, of course, and want someone in control to fire about half of the city employees who do nothing but draw a salary.

Comment:

Me and my husband are both disabled and want to oppose the increase.

Comment:

I am 81 years old and can’t pay now and I cannot come on Thursday. Please voice my opinion for me, old people are being sent to the grave worrying about all this – let all them know I’m against this.

Comment:

I do volunteer work for COA and if I were paid, I wouldn’t work for less than $500 per hour. My job is to sell people about how nice it is to live here in Austin. What a lie, what a lie, what a lie. I can’t stand this Austin City Council and how they spend money. If the city is hurting for water, stop people using money for swimming pools – I’m moving out as soon as I possibly can.

Comment:

We do not need this, it’s already too high

Comment:

I’m sick of their nepotism and underhanded dealings of the Austin City Council!

Comment:

Please tell the city I do not want these increases, and it’s outrageous, I am disabled and old.

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I have lived in Austin 53 years and live on limited income. The last thing I need is things going up.

Comment:

I’m on social security and I cannot afford thisCHe is going around to the neighbors.

Comment:

I have already been talking to my neighbors who are all really opposed to this, particularly us on the east side. Rates are high enough!

Comment:

Thanks for letting us know, we’ve considering leaving the city and we’ve been here for 30 years. We will leave the City if they do this.

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