I am writing to express my great distress about the proposal to move $18 million from the water fund to the general fund as part of the 2014 Cobb budget that the county commission will vote for on Tuesday. Moving this $18 million is wrong for these reasons:
• Just because money has been moved from the water fund to the general fund in the past does not make it the right thing to do. Now is the time to stop this policy.
• This proposal tells me that $18 million too much money was collected under the guise of water expenses.
• The extra $18 million is, in effect, an undeclared hidden tax.
• Rates that Cobb residents pay for water should cover only the expense of water and the infrastructure needed to provide it to Cobb County.
• The Cobb water rates are much higher than they should be (obviously, if $18 million too much has been collected).
• My personal experience with current Cobb water rates is that the lowest monthly bill for my two-person family is $44.99 in spite of these actions on our part to use less water:
We only run the dishwasher every third day.
We only do 3-4 loads of laundry per week.
We collect daily the five gallons of water that it takes to get hot water to our shower, then we carry it to the washing machine to use for laundry.
We “spot water” landscape plants and vegetables instead of running the sprinkler system.
• We are being charged “Tier Two” rates even with our very low water use.
• Cobb County water rates need to be overhauled to reflect a more realistic amount of expected water use for families, and to include only the cost of water (not extra money for the “general fund.”)
• Using water is a necessity, not a choice, and rates should not include a hidden tax.
In conclusion, I request that the Commissioners reject the transfer of $18 million from the water fund to the general fund as part of the proposed 2014 budget. If more money is needed in the general fund simply don’t lower the property taxes.