January 9, 2013
PDT Staff Writer
Residents of Portsmouth are opening their water and sewer bills to find their rates have gone up.
“The water rates have gone up three percent,” Portsmouth Mayor David Malone said. “The sewer rates have also gone up three percent.”
“When (former mayor) Jane (Murray) was on, she had some users up ten percent or something like that,” Malone said. “When I came on we took everything down to the 2009 rate, and then we raised everything up three to five percent.”
Malone said sewer rates went up ten percent last year, and now three percent more this year.
Portsmouth resident and former City Councilman Harald Daub says he plans to take out petitions to have the issue dealing with the way rates are raised placed on the ballot during the next election.
“I’m planning on getting it on the ballot the way the water rates are raised, that it has to go through Council, not to (continue to) let the mayor have that authority,” Daub said. “I hope to have it on the next election. That has kind of been a stickler with me for a long time, that they can just raise our water rates, and initially that raises the sewer rates too, because they base your sewage on your water.”
Daub said the current rate increase is just the latest in a series of cost increases the public has been subjected to.
“Enough is enough,” Daub said. “This is terrible, every year. I’m thinking about the elderly people and people trying to survive in this economy.”
Daub said another objection he has to the rate increase is the fact that Portsmouth residents have just had their income taxes increased from 1.5 to two percent.
“Then, our Social Security tax rate just went up two percent more, thanks to the federal government,” Daub said. “Everyone’s paychecks are getting littler, and the fees and costs of things are all going up. We’re on a downhill spiral. It’s not good.”
In 2012, everyone put 4.2 percent of their income toward social security. This year, 6.2 percent of your income will go into the pot. That is because the FICA tax rates that were in effect prior to 2011 have been reinstated.
Portsmouth water and sewer rate increases:
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.