To the Editor:
The election is around the corner and residents of O’Fallon need to remember that a vote YES is a vote against higher taxes.
Opponents to leasing the operations keep saying that our water rates will go up if a private company takes over the management of the water system. But O’Fallon’s water rates are already increasing at a 42 percent higher rate than other local cities like Belleville.
In the last four years, O’Fallon water rates have increased 5.21 percent more each year on average compared to Belleville’s average of 3.68 percent. Belleville is owned by a private operator, which is the same private operator that O’Fallon purchases its water from and then pumps into our homes. If a private operator can manage their system with lower rate increases than O’Fallon, than why wouldn’t we consider a lease? Plus a lease means the city will still own the water system and control the water quality.
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We don’t lose anything. In fact we gain a great deal because a lease could generate a minimum $50 million for the city to use for important infrastructure improvements to our roads and finally repair the drainage issues in the old part of O’Fallon.
The city council already voted not to sell the water system in February because they know it is an important asset that can be leveraged better to help residents of O’Fallon. The city council has not raised the city’s portion of our property taxes in 18 years and they do not want to raise them now—but the city was honest with us when they laid out two plans that would require increased taxes if alternative funding was not found.
The first was to raise property taxes by $395 per household worth $150,000 or more and the second was to raise sales taxes by 25 percent. We need to make sure the city council hears from us—CONSIDER ALL OPTIONS BEFORE RAISING TAXES. A YES vote twice will send that clear message. Vote Yes Twice on April 7.