Councilman expresses concerns on issues

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

In an email to Portsmouth City Manager Derek K. Allen, First Ward Councilman Kevin W. Johnson has made his concerns known on a variety of items, among them questions he has about the soon-to-be sewer rates in the city.

Beginning in April of this year, your sewer rates will be going up if you live in the city. The city’s Wastewater Fund has been in a deficit 9 of the past 11 years and ended 2015 with a deficit balance of $965,198.31.

The current base chage which includes the first 1,000 gallons, is $7.01, and in April that will climb to $11. Every 1,000 after the first 1,000 is currently $3.78 and will raise to $5. Every 1,000 after 13,000 will remain at $5.13 and every 1,000 after 33,000 will remain at $5.54.

“Though I certainly support a change in rates to eliminate the nine of past eleven-year deficits, I remain concerned that the increased rates shall be borne particularly by those in single-family homes or apartments,” Johnson said in his correspondence. “Singles and seniors such as myself who regularly utilize 1,000 or fewer gallons per month shall see a 56.9 percent increase come May. Those who utilize up to 13,000 shall see this 56.9 percent for the first 1,000 then a 32.3 percent increase for the second 1,000.”

Johnson commented that those utilizing over 13,000 and over 33,000 would see no increase whatsoever.

“I am interested in knowing when was the last time rates were increased for those utilizing over 13,000 and over 33,000 gallons per month?” Johnson asked.

At the end of 2015 the city had every fund in the city was in the black except for the Wastewater Fund, prompting the increase.

Among other issues, Johnson asked about some administrative action.

“You mention meetings to resolve F.O.P. grievance (Feb. 12), Dispatcher grievances (Feb. 23) and a former Police Officer’s appeal and Motion to Dismiss… My question: Are the details behind these privileged information?” Johnson asked. “To whom was the letter of apology written concerning (the) employee in city vehicle parking in a Wounded Warriors’ parking spot?”

Johnson said he sent the questions in lieu of bringing them up Monday night at the City Council meeting.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.