And that's fair:
Water sales could and should help the city with its expenses and service provision: right now, water doesn't cost much more than the electricity and staff time to deliver it to our faucets.
And the city is in the preliminary stages of seeking consultant advice on how to price water with its full or comprehensive value in mind.
The consultant's findings could stimulate conservation, focus everyone on stemming water leaks, and establish a relevant, real-world formula through which water could be sold to a community like Waukesha, which wants a diversion from Lake Michigan supplied by Milwaukee.
If water stimulates growth, and increases tax base and employment in a purchasing community, there should be some reflection of those fresh benefits in the rates.
New Berlin got away with a one-time payment for a diversion from Milwaukee of $1.5 million as added compensation for 20 years water service piped to an area in the middle of New Berlin that could see $1 billion in development, along with much new housing units and jobs.
For a variety of reasons - - some good and some bad - - Milwaukee took the deal.
Milwaukee cannot afford to take the same short-sighted and one-dimensional approach with Waukesha, as that city wants at least four times more water than New Berlin, and has more ambitious annexation and growth agendas, too.
There are many reasons for Milwaukee to raise and otherwise adjust its water rates; hats off to Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the Common Council for heading in that direction - - and away from this spring's ill-fated effort to move towards turning the city water works to a private firm.
Friday, July 17, 2009
And that's fair: