A few weeks ago the Payson Town Council expressed its displeasure of the proposed utility increases by Arizona Public Service and SemStream. The council voted unanimously to oppose the large rate increases and called on the Arizona Corporation Commission to reject APS’s 6 percent increase and SemStream’s 26 percent increase. They cited the present poor economic climate and suggested the rate increases be postponed until the economy improves.
Well, have you looked at your water bill this month? The rates have gone up 10 percent over last month and the economy has not improved at all. To oppose others’ rate increases and then support your own seems to be a little hypercritical.
The unemployment rate in Gila County is presently at 16 percent, the food banks are giving out record amounts of food to the needy and the water department has the largest bank account of any department.
About a year ago when this increase came before the council we were told that if the four-year college came to Payson, the rate increase would not be needed. Well the college people would not be buying the community college land if they were not going to build a college campus here.
Mayor Evans rightfully said the council does not have a voice on the APS/SemStream rates but they sure do on our own water rates. Even though the current water rate increase did not have to come before the council, the town council can certainly roll-back these water increases.
Bank of America just rolled back their rates because their customers complained. They give us a good example. The citizens of Payson need to call the members of the town council and complain.
Blue Ridge water is still about three years away according to the current timetable, so maybe the water department can make due with the old rates for another year. Payson, speak up.