Archived Story

City water rates get complicated

Published 9:40am Monday, July 7, 2014

Stealing allowed by your elected public official?

In my opinion, our elected officials, the mayor and the Albert Lea City Council members are allowing the city of Albert Lea to steal from its citizens. Definition of stealing from Webster’s Dictionary: to take (something that does not belong to you) in a way that is wrong or illegal. (Like your hard earned money).

You may ask why do I say this? Albert Lea citizens received a letter in the mail about a month ago regarding that the city is now going to charge you sewer rates for the extra water you would use to make your property green. The city previously charged you for the extra water used, and charged you for winter sewer rates. Now they are charging you for all the water you use and charging you as if all that goes down the sanitary sewer. If there is a larger use in summer, it more than likely is for watering your garden, flowers, yard or even washing your car.

Yes, there was I believe something in that letter, which I threw in the garbage, that the state of Minnesota said that cities can charge sewer rates for the extra water used. But, if I remember correctly, the cities could do that, but they were not mandated to charge its citizens in this manner. That’s why I mentioned above that our elected officials are allowing the city to steal from us. I have no problem with paying for the extra water that I use.

There is a way out of this. Yay! The city said that we can install a meter to measure flow into the sanitary sewer system. Hold your horses though, the individual homeowners have to pay for the meters being installed and I believe pay a monthly fee for the meter being in place. I assume that is for someone to read the meter. Now, does not your power company furnish a meter free of charge to meter your electrical and gas usage? Does not the city have a meter on your house somewhere to measure your water usage? If the city wants us to pay for extra sewer usage when we use more water that soaks into the ground, why shouldn’t the city of Albert Lea furnish meters installed free of charge to all of its citizens to measure what goes into the sanitary sewer system?

Now back to my comment at the top. Are our leaders allowing the city of Albert Lea to steal from us? Maybe we need to remember that at election time. Or are they trying to recoup money lost that they paid a finance director who quit her job and gave her a severance package amounting to three months of salary and health insurance, including dental, through September? As a manager in a business, I have never seen anything like that benefit where you reward someone who quits their job? One more thought as long as I am on my soapbox: As you drive west out of town over the first viaduct, look to your right and see the mess inside the fence behind the residential area. I thought that the city was concerned about what our town looks like. I believe that this mess has existed there for years.

Why does the city not clean up this mess and charge the landowner like they do when someone’s grass gets too long? West Main Street is one of the more heavily traveled arteries in and out of our beautiful city, but the city has turned a blind eye to this mess? The only thing that I can think of is that our city employees and leaders must know the property owner and are looking the other way. Come on city leaders, clean up your act and treat everyone equally.


Dave Nelson

Albert Lea