INCREASED EXPENSES OF WATER WORKS MAINTENANCE.
At the annual convention of the Pennsylvania Water Works Association, J. H. Purdy, the president, spoke of the increase in prices and the unprecedented rise in overhead expenses. He declared that the time had come for the water companies to take the public into their confidence and frankly state the case just as it stands, in order to secure the good will of the public. Coal, he said, has increased in price from 50 to 300 per cent., cast iron pipe, 300 per cent.; valves, brass goods, and fire hydrants, 175 per cent., and so on all down the line. He suggested as the only remedy the meeting and discussing of the problem frankly with public officials, and letting the public understand the state of affairs that exists. That the water departments all over the country face a very serious situation in this matter of increase of prices in all the supplies and machinery needed in their business, is no doubt true, and Mr. Purdy by no means overstated the condition of affairs. The unprecedented rise in prices in the last year has created a very embarrassing situation for them to meet, for the only remedy in their power, the raising of rates, at once tends to create a feeling of resentment and antagonism among their patrons, and serves to bring them into bad repute in the communities which they serve. That this fact is eagerly taken advantage of by unscrupulous politicians and those who would benefit by the discrediting of the private water company, tends to further complicate the situation and render the path of the manager more thorny than ever. The remedy suggested by Mr. Purdy does logically seem to be the most sensible course to pursue. For in the long run the public, when taken frankly into the confidence of the governing body of a utility, whether private or municipal, will recognize as a rule the plain justice of its position and co-operate to relieve the situation. At the worst the suggested course can do no harm and will probably help to remedy the unfortunate state of affairs that confronts the water companies.