I've steered clear of Parker politics in the past few years. I've got a number of friends who are active in local politics, and they've acted with …
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I've steered clear of Parker politics in the past few years.
I've got a number of friends who are active in local politics, and
they've acted with honor. Hence, I've kept my peace. But, the
Parker Water and Sanitation District 28 percent water rate increase
proposal moved me off center in a hurry.
I've many friends who are out of work in this economy. I've many
friends who are on fixed incomes, as am I. I'm getting mighty tired
of my piddely little income being used to bail out big automobile
makers and mortgage lending firms who get greedy, get in trouble
and need bailin' out. Now, Parker Water isn't a huge corporation,
but it's sure big enough to make dumb moves just like greedy
Frankly, I've been very disenchanted with the imperiousness of
the water district leadership for a lot of years. I see Pareker
Water as the nasty upstream rancher holdin' downstream folks by the
throat. It can cut off water and seemingly can raise water prices
However, there's one big difference. I can't fire the upstream
rancher owner, but I sure can help vote the water board out of
office and ask a new board to fire the folks who got us into a
position where they want to increase water rates by 28 percent. I
agree with Mayor David Casiano, who has said, "A 28 percent
increase [while they make no cuts in their budget] in this economy
is ludicrous and downright criminal."
I'd like an audit of the records of Parker Water to determine
why it is asking for this enormous rate increase. I don't know
who's been traveling where, how much car allowances have been, if
there are liquor allowances, restaurant entertainment, travel and
travel with spouses. But before the district starts charging Parker
28 percent higher water rates, I think a complete exposé of what's
gone amiss is in order.
I've been told that the "company cars" driven by the upper
echelon are far more expensive than the head folk of a small town
water operation should enjoy. When I arrived here in 1986, the
district was a little temporary building on Dransfeldt Road with a
few workers. In 22 years, it's grown enormously. Frank Jaeger
became manager early on. I see the Rueter-Hess Dam has been named
after him. Quite a monument to a concurrent raise of 28 percent in
the rate hike! Does that include a bronze plaque? Has Parker Water
possibly overreached, overrun, and overspent in becoming a grand
Mike Casey, district board member, quickly called the increase
"the fault of the previous board." Mary Spencer, PWSD board vice
president just as quickly labeled opposition to the raise as "name
calling." Shep Root, board chairman just "terminated" discussion of
the increase when the water started to get too hot, poor pun
Well, I won't do name calling, but I will point out some
shenanigans in scheduling the so called special meeting. It's
jumped from date to date, and now from hour to hour. It had seemed
firmly scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 22. But then, board members
changed that at a very late date, to 5 p.m. Dec. 22. Now, that's
bothersome. Why would they want to have a poor showing at the
special meeting? Could it be they don't want to hear opposition?
Some name calling might be offensive to sensitive board member
Here's how I see the increase affecting an average family, like
mine. Information Jaeger put out says an average resident's water
bill will increase $15. Don't think that tells the story! Huge
numbers of us live in homeowners associations. I spent years on an
HOA Board. For five months of each year, those HOAs will kick into
the top tier to keep grass remotely green. Who pays that
skyrocketing water bill? That same little resident's skyrocketing
HOA dues. The effect on local businesses will be huge. Who pays for
that? Same little guys! A few of my friends outside town have wells
and say it doesn't affect them. But they attend churches in town
and shop here. Church and business lawns are watered, and the
buildings use lots of water.
So, if this passes, Parker Water gets to us from every
direction, as I see it. It'll be interesting to see how the board
handles a large turnout for the special meeting, despite the
dodging. I've e-mailed everyone I know in town limits. Will Parker
Water defer the increase or will it do some real belt tightening
just like the rest of us are doing?
Curt Dale, a longtime Parker resident, is a retired colonel of
the U.S. Air Force and holds a Ph.D. in educational management.
Contact him at email@example.com.
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