URGES METERS FOR MUSKEGON.
In figuring out why every water service in the city of Muskegon, Mich., should be metered, Water Superintendent Charles H. Potter has brought out the fact that the city does not receive a cent for fifty-five per cent, of the water pumped under the present system, Mr. Potter stated that with meters consumers paying from eleven dollars to thirteen dollars a year on a flat rate would reduce iheir bill to about six dollars and that such decreases would not reduce the water department’s revenue and he has prepared figures to show how and why this is so. Last year, Superintendent Potter’s figures show, the Lake Michigan Water Works pumped 1,543,236,465 gallons of water. This amounts, roughly, to 205,764,862 cubic feet; the water department should have received $102,882.43. It received only $46,781.46 in the way of revenues from water. In other words, there was $56,100.97 worth of water pumped for which the city did not receive a cent. Superintendent Potter declares this is accounted for by waste and says: “A large portion simply flowed away. The man who lets the water run all night to keep his lawn wet or to keep his pipes from freezing in the winter is responsible for a big share of the loss.” And he maintains that while a large portion of water goes toward extinguishing fires and some is used to keep the city streets clean and that while some goes in leaks in the mains, these sources do not explain the large proportion of water for which the city is not paid, saying the margin is entirely too large. He declares to have only forty-five per cent, of the water pumped paid for is an unbusinesslike condition that should not be further tolerated, and the meter, he declares, is the only solution. Superintendent Potter said: “If every service in the city were metered, and if every property owner paid for the water he used, no more, no less, the city could then ascertain how much water it consumed and how much was wasted.” Mr. Potter says: “The proper thing to do would be to charge the fire department for all the water it uses, the park fund for the water used in keeping the parks green, the cemetery fund for the water used in the cemeteries, etc. In that way the water department could be run on a businesslike basis, would be perfectly self-sustaining, and we would not need bond issues to make improvements. The time is rapidly coming when we will need a new pump. Metering services is the only thing that will postpone that day, since it will cut out waste of water, and enable us to supply more consumers, which are coming in at the rate of about 300 a year. The water department is now burdened with paying the interest and principal of the $300,000 bond issue. The bonds are to be paid off at the rate of $10,000 a year, and it will take us 30 years, therefore, to retire them. The way things are going now, the city would probably have to pay for an addition to the Lake Michigan pumping station and a new pump out of the city revenues, when the time comes to buy the new pump. But if we get every service metered, and run things on a business-like basis, wc can pay for the addition and the new pump put of the water revenues. The water department should be run as a separate business corporation. Some people think they are getting something for nothing by taking water at the flat rate. They don’t. By sprinkling all day and night, they may use twice the water they pay for in the shape of water rentals. But the water pumped has to be paid for in some way, and it comes back on them in the shape of general city taxes when improvements are needed and the water fund can’t pay for these.”