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Project’s costs aren’t being divided equitably | Letters | July 10
Deputy Planning Director Chris Wierzbicki’s op-ed piece in last week’s paper (“This Fourth, get the latest on Winslow Way”) urged people to visit the city’s Fourth of July tent and learn what a good project the rebuilding of Winslow Way will be. I have a couple of problems with this piece.
The first is that city employees should carry out policy, not sell it. This project has sharply divided the City Council. Leave politics to elected officials.
Wierzbicki also trivializes the costs to the average island household, saying that storm-water customers will pay only about a dollar a month more. But every property owner on the island is also a storm-water customer, so we will all pay higher storm-water fees, and for something that has essentially been sold as a sewer-pipe replacement.
With 20-year bond financing, these higher storm-water fees will come to a total cost of almost $500 per household. If all of us are going to have to pitch in that much money, let’s choose something that we can all agree on, use and enjoy.
He also said that city sewer and water customers could see a 5-6 percent increase in their bills. He doesn’t mention that when the cost of the sewage treatment plant and new lines along the beach are added, sewer and water rates could increase by 20 to 30 percent.
The major problem I have with this project is the fact that downtown property owners are not paying their fair share. City engineers have said that this is a costly project because so many businesses along Winslow Way connect up to it. The people who own these buildings should be paying for these replacement pipes, not the rest of us.
I don’t know how the City Council has managed to avoid talking about a more equitable allocation of costs, but with every other money issue now on the table, this one should be at the top of the list.