The Matter of Water Rates
A question with which many of the water departments and water companies are face to face and which has got to be answered quickly to avoid a deficit in the case of the municipal department and bankruptcy of the private concern is that of the increase in water rates. There can be no dodging in handling this issue. The expenses of maintenance during the past few years have been steadily mounting and the income has remained, in most cases, practically stationary. Such a state of affairs cannot long go on. There must be a balance between the income and the outgo or disaster will be the result. The difficulties that beset the water departments and companies when they attempt to raise the water rates and are at once subjected to the opposition and many times to the abuse of the consumers are, at least in some instances, of their own making. Had they at the beginning frankly taken the public into their confidence and shown them the necessity for these advances, even to the extent of throwing open their books for inspection, much of this opposition would have melted away. The average American is a lover of fair play, and when it had been demonstrated that it was either a case of raising the rates or the taxes in the instance of the municipality-owned department, and of more pay for water or going out of business for the private company, the public would have paid without question in most cases. Frankness in these matters, as in most others, is a mighty asset and paves the way to a better understanding all around.