Letters to the Editor

Water utility transfer best for ratepayers | Letters | Jan. 28

Water utility transfer best for ratepayers | Letters | Jan. 28

I am alarmed and disheartened that our city continues to use funds provided by the 2,200 households who pay into the water utility fund to cover expenditures that are not water related.

Late in 2010, the Kitsap Public Utility District formally offered to take over the management of COBI’s water system, estimating that ratepayers’ water bills would be cut by nearly 50 percent.

KPUD currently manages thousands of hook-ups throughout the county, including the former North Bainbridge Water System, and its economy of scale is certain to be beneficial to those being billed for water.

In addition to their extensive experience, public utility districts are closely monitored by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission and have strict compliance requirements.

By contrast, there is no state oversight of a city-owned utility. When I recently asked the WUTC to protect me from our city’s harmful policies, I was told that it has no jurisdiction, and that I should “contact the city administrator.”

Since KPUD offered to manage the COBI water utility:

• The recently formed Utility Advisory Committee, which is the only watchdog we have over city utility charges, has declined to accept the KPUD offer. Of note, only three of the seven members of this committee are city water ratepayers.

• The council has delayed action on KPUD’s proposal until a recently hired consultant determines if KPUD management of our water utility is a good idea.

In the next few weeks, all city ratepayers will receive a petition insisting that COBI turn over the water management to KPUD. Please make sure you sign this petition and promptly return it.

Dee DuMont

Bainbridge Island

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