Water Rates and Water Management
Along the foregoing lines the paper by Mr. Craig, published on page 135 of this week’s issue, will be found of interest. He has, evidently, thought seriously on the subject of rates in connection with water works management and his conclusions are that the water department should be an entirely separate unit which not only should be in charge of its own finances but also through adequate rates, should be entirely self-supporting.
Mr. Craig goes even further and argues that improvements to the water system shoud not be paid for by means of bond issues but should be taken care of by water rates amply sufficient for this purpose. Whether this would be possible in all cases seems very uncertain, but undoubtedly departments which end the year with a substantial surplus could apply this surplus with advantage to purposes of improvements in the system and to the reducing of bonded indebtedness. In speaking of the matter of avoiding the issuance of bonds for improvements, Mr. Craig says: “Maybe we cannot help ourselves but I doubt if any of us have made a serious effort, and if we cannot get away from bonds entirely, we can at least cut down as much of the additional expense as is practical. In order to do this it will be necessary for us to make a summary of the situation and estimate as closely as may be possible what extensions will have to be made within the next ten years, say, and then bring our revenues up to meet the requirements. Most assuredly the rates will be higher, because we are working on the wrong basis now, but in the long run the people will pay less and have more, the only difference being that they will see what they are paying instead of having part of it hid in the taxes.”