O’Fallon Mayoral Candidate Phil Goodwin claims the city’s water fund has $10 million in reserves. Fact check: the last treasurer’s report (Nov. 30, 2016) shows $6.93 million. His proposal to refund $3 million is campaign rhetoric.
The water system is an enterprise fund, a business. The intent of an enterprise fund is to keep surplus earnings within the water department in order to better plan for and implement future expansion and growth. No different than a business planning for capital improvements.
If he rebates $3 million, how does he propose paying for the expansion of the water system needed to keep up with the economic growth he anticipates? Here are his two choices: raise rates in two years because that’s how long it will take to deplete $3 million, or ...
He’ll have to recommend selling or leasing the water system to a private provider because he’ll have squandered the surplus that’s supposed to be there to help pay for future growth.
Goodwin wrote a letter to the editor in favor of privatizing the city’s water and sewer system two years ago, and the council has never taken a formal vote to end that proposal. So what? Because the brains behind that slick “vote ‘yes’ please” campaign are the same folks guiding his current campaign strategy for mayor.
A give-back of $3 million makes for great headlines, but the short-term gain is not worth the long-term pain. To anyone who thinks this rebate gimmick is a good deal, be careful what you wish for.
Ron Zelms, O’Fallon