Advance in Rates Imperative

Advance in Rates Imperative

As will be seen by reference to our Water Rates column the general tendency, in consonance with the upward trend of all commodities of living, is to raise rates for the supply of water both by municipal departments and private water companies. This is not only natural, but has become absolutely imperative. The wages of all water employees have increased more than 50 per cent., the price of materials have advanced in like manner, and the cost of machinery and appliances necessary to the proper conduct of a water department have also gone soaring upward. These conditions must be met and the only adequate method of meeting them is to raise the rate which the consumer is paying for his water. Naturally, this in most cases results in much friction and complaint on the part of the patrons, for one of the hardest things to accomplish is to persuade the public that water is just as much a commodity as is gas, electricity, or coal, and that the expenses incident to its supply are just as real and just as necessary to be met. The general impression of the layman is that water is, or should be, absolutely free, and that any municipal department or corporation, that asks more than a nominal sum for supplying it is an extortioner. This is particularly the case where the supply is under the jurisdiction of a private company. It is always productive of a complaint when a company attempts to advance its water rates, irrespective of the justice or the necessity of the move on its part. However, there is no doubt at all that those departments and companies which have not as yet done so, will have to face the music and raise their rates, or suffer disaster. There is a large field for a judicious educational campaign in this connection on the part of these corporations. Much can be done in this regard to avoid trouble when the inevitable raise comes, it the public is taken into the confidence of the water department or company and is plainly shown the necessity of the advance. The natural love of fair play that is characteristic of every American, will then operate in favor of the water department or company, and the expected friction will largely disappear.

Secretary W. W. Norris, of the Firemen’s Pension Board, Cleveland, Ohio, plans an appeal to the city council to appropriate $90,000 for the pension fund, as there was no money left in the treasury after paying the June allotments. There are a number of dependents of deceased firemen who will be without their July pensions if financial aid is not given, it is asserted.

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