Basalt official believes she’s on the money
November 13, 2002
Basalt Town Councilwoman Anne Freedman believes she is on the money with town residents when it comes to justifying higher rates for higher water usage.
Freedman paid her water bill for the summer months with $1 bills last night to try to show the new rates aren’t a burden for most citizens. She said her bill for July, August and September came to only $90.25 because of conservation and use of drought-resistant landscaping.
Freedman’s actions were in response to Basalt resident Matt Ferguson’s Oct. 22 protest of higher water rates. The town adopted a fee structure in April that raised prices significantly once consumers topped 54,901 gallons of water in a quarter.
Ferguson paid his $605 water bill in $1 bills to protest. He said the rate was unfair to large families and homeowners with large yards. Even though his family cut consumption from the previous year, their bill still went up, he said.
Freedman said last night she realizes many residents do conserve, and she believes they support the conservation-minded pricing.
“Although my bill is on the low side, I am much more representative of the majority of Basaltines than the family with the $600 bill,” Freedman said, reading from a prepared statement.
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She said only 22.5 percent of Basalt’s residential customers pay the highest two tiers of water rates, including only 37 customers, or 4.67 percent, in the highest tier of use.
Freedman said continued conservation efforts are necessary in a town where water use has quadrupled since 1981. And, she said, sanctions for high water use “must also play a role.”
“If we were to lower rates in the top two tiers, we would have to increase the rates for the 77 percent of our customers who use less than 54,900 gallons,” Freedman said.