Wednesday, March 03, 2010


Dear Editor:

The New Albany Sewer Board through its hired guns and its minority of supporters are attempting to pass an exorbitant rate hike through without justifying its case to the city council and more importantly, the rate payers of the utility.

There are many questions that need to be addressed and options to consider before a rate increase should be proposed. Foremost is how did the sewer utility go from EPA compliance and a solid financial condition under the previous administration and Board to one of financial crisis and back under the probing eyes of the EPA?

Sewer boards officials stated that there has been a significant loss of revenue, which according to them has led to the current fiscal condition. This could account for cash flow problems, but the real problem is a lack of oversight and sound fiscal policy by the current sewer board, it is an issue of not establishing safeguards to manage bond debt and outside expertise to monitor the utilities finances as the previous board did.

This critical error by the sewer board casts serious doubts on its ability to prudently manage the utility and further calls into question their creditability.

Secondly, how complete was the rate study and why is the firm that conducted the rate study the same one that has been involved in every major rate increase in Indiana? It appears that this firm did not evaluate alternatives as many rate consultants will do and has a vested interest to produce a report that the sewer board wanted rather than what's best for the rate payers.

Lastly, why do the sewer board officials, the administration and its minority of citizen supporters view EDIT funds as "off the table?"Do they not understand that a better use of EDIT is to keep New Albany sewer rates competitive in order to spur economic development rather than build a $12 million downtown garage and other white elephants, that do nothing to create sustainable jobs, ie: real economic development"

If sewer rates are raised excessively not only will they serve as a deterrent to future growth, but they will also create a situation where the customers base, rate payers both residential and commercial will move elsewhere thus further causing the utility revenue issues.

I would urge the city council to ask these questions and demand more transparency from this sewer board before passing a rate increase, it's your duty by ordinance.

Tim Deatrick