Letter to the Editor: Majority of Marco Island’s councilors does it again

In their attempt to establish equitable (?) water capacity rates for single family and condos users based on utilization of the water plant, they neglected to consider two classes of customers. That is, single family and commercial low volume water users.

It was determine that based on volume of water used by Condos (includes internal use, external use, irrigation, pools, cooling towers, etc.) per unit is approximately 5,250 gallons or 40.5 percent of an average single family home (15,000 to 16,000 gallons usage), after considerable debate. The water capacity charge for single family homes is $35.26 and for condos it’s $14.27, which does not include the customer charge of $7.01. What they neglected to do was to consider that there are low volume water users in the single family and commercial customer class. It was recommended to council and the consultant that an affordable or block capacity charge be created (same as Condos) for Low Volume users, but that recommendations were not considered.

Review of Burton’s Report dated April 16, 2012, schedules on page 13, 14, & 15 clearly indicates that low volume water users in single family homes and commercial (5/8” meter) are being penalized for demonstrating water conservation with a rate increase of 37 percent for using zero gallons, 29 and 33 pwercent respectfully for using 1,000 gallons, 24 and 30 percent respectfully for using 2,000 gallons, 19 and 28 percent respectfully for using 3,000 gallons, 15 and 25 percent respectfully for using 4,000 gallons and 12 26 percent respectfully for using 5,000 gallons and 9 and 22 percent respectfully for using 6,000 gallons of water. But if a Single Family uses 15,000 gallons of water their bill will Increases by 8 percent and Commercial bill will increase by 15 percent.

I recommend that the capacity charge for single family and commercial low volume water users be adjusted to $14.27 same as condos.

For the Commercial user, there is another disparity and that is the per thousand gallon charge for water. Previously they were charge the same as all other class of user, $3.85 per 1,000 gallons, in the Burton’s M54 they will be charged $3.96 per 1,000 Gallons. My recommendation is, the first 6,000 gallons be charged at $2.75 per 1,000 gallons, same as Single Family and Condos and all gallons above 6,000 gallons charge $4.13 per 1,000 gallons.

In addition to reviewing the Single Family and Commercial schedule, a review of the individually metered condos and master metered condos results in a substantial decrease in their water portion of their utility bill due to a substantial reduction of their base capacity charge as pointed out above. Present capacity charge for individually metered condo is $30.83 and for master metered condo is $23.14. The M54 rate structure capacity charge for individually metered condo $14.27 plus $7.01 customer charge and for master metered condo based on average of 90 Units is $14.27 plus $0.08 customer charge per unit.

It is imperative for this City Council to continue to review Burton’s M54 presentation an modify the results to fairly allocate capacity charges to low volume water users in the single family and commercial class of customers as was done for the condo customer class.

I submitted a public records request for Burton’s worksheets which determined the dewer capacity charge. Therefore, I am waiting for that information before I comment on the Sewer side of the Rate Adjustment. The council did make an adjustment on the Sewer CAP for Single Family Homes to 4,000 gallons from 6,000 gallons, which is a move in the right direction.

For Fiscal Year 2011 Single Family Homes were Billed $500,000 for sewer usage that was not processed by the Sewer plant.

Respectfully submitted.

Amadeo Petricca

Marco Island

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Comments » 2

ajm3s writes:

May we recommend Mr. Petricca for council? At the very least, so he can get information without any stonewalling he has experienced as a board member of MITA and a resident of Marco Island.

It would also result in addressing a host of perennial issues on this island. One vote for Mr. Petricca would be a change in a refreshingly new direction with a timeless vision that was defined in the early development of Marco Island by the Mackle Bros. A city developed primarily as a residential community.

A vision is which wants are NOT defined as needs. Where cronyism and special interests are replaced with sound fiscal responsibility. Where density transfer credits would be replaced with adherence to planning laid out decades ago. Where a city is NOT a new scheme for generating government revenue at the expense of those who seek to live here and enjoy what nature provides for free.

And I believe there are more folks out there that are getting keen to the idea that this city was developed primarily for the benefit of residents.... NOT the other way around.

lauralbi1 writes:

There are so many elements that go into the establishment of the varuious rates, and Mr. Pettricia would have us believe that it is a cut and dry issue. Most condos on Marco are using non-potable, reclaimed wastewater for irrigation. Do not know how that impacts the irrigation usage referenced early in the LTE. Most rates are based on cost of service and capacity calculations. It costs the same to "deliver" 15,000 gallons as it does 5,000 gallons (this is delivery, not capacity charges). The difference obviously is the cost of product. How much of the rate is based on capacity of the plants and the infrastructure ?? If the 5,000 gallon user all of a sudden uses 15,000 gallons, the ability to deliver that demand must exist both in the Treatment Plant and in the pipelines. That capacity determination is based on avaerages and historical data, not on zero or "low" water usage. The capacity of a Plant or Plants is a major factor in the development of Capital and Maintenance costs. These costs are amortized by a Base Charge and in the cost of the water.
I certainly do not know how the numbers crunch, but it would appear that neither does the author.
As is always the case, numbers can be made to argue both sides and can be expressed to support any position. This is certainly exemplified in the LTE above.
When I worked for the largest water supplier in the World, we had a discounted rate for Groundwater Replenishment. We found agencies that were buying water at this rate, pumping it into the ground, and immediately pumping it out and selling it to their customers at normal rates. Everyone else suffered higher rates as a result. They were able to demonstrate the numbers by manipulation as was done above. Obviously, when this practice was discovered, it was stopped. The point is that it is difficult to establish "perfect rates" that work for everyone.
In situations such as this, there is never a 100% "equitable" or "fair" solution. We can only expect our representatives to do the best they can and it appears that this was done in this case.
Can the rates be changed or adjusted based on actual revenue ?? Certainly, and they probably will be as we see actual numbers over a period of time.
Ed Issler

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