Next month Gardner’s council will discuss an across the board 3.7 percent water rate increase, which, if approved, would most likely take effect in January 2020.
This gives residents a chance to prepare for the increase, and hopefully will give the council an incentive to plan the increase and watch expenses more appropriately.
We don’t usually favor utility or tax increases. Usually increases involve a “want” as opposed to a “need.” We opposed the 2015 half cent sales tax increase to upgrade and repair public streets. We believe road maintenance should always be the backbone of a city’s budget. It’s a need and should have always have been properly funded.
Drinking water is a necessity and , as a priority, should be properly funded. We understand the need for a water rate increase and plant expansion. Gardner has grown, and water capacity needs to be increased to adequately serve that growth.
Last summer, Gardner was under water restrictions when the city’s water plant operated at 90 percent capacity for four days. There were also restrictions in 2012. Residents and businesses were put on an even/odd outdoor watering schedule, and bulk water sales were briefly suspended.
We support the council’s consensus to review, restructure or reclassify water rates and the need for a water plant expansion.
However, although we support the council’s consensus regarding the need for a water rate increase, we also urge them to be better stewards of the taxpayers’ money.
Gardner needs a fiscally conservative council that will be thrifty and spend taxpayer funds wisely.