A catch-22 indeed

Published 7:29 pm Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Communication is important: This common sense statement is true in all facets of life but most recently — and perhaps most relevantly — it’s especially true for the Kenbridge Town Council and town residents regarding the cost of water bills.

“I understand there is a base pay, I get that,” said Darlene Brown, of Kenbridge, noting that she pays about $77 for her water bill, noting that she is the only occupant and that her neighbors pay a similar rate. “But it doesn’t seem fair that I’m paying the same amount as my neighbor.”

It doesn’t seem fair indeed. She later in the town meeting noted that her neighbors have five occupants.

Kenbridge Mayor Emory Hodges said the town receiving grants for replacing the town’s sewer lines, renovations being completed in November for pump station repairs and rehabilitation.

The reason the town has minimum water rates that are controlled by the state due to grants received by the town.

“It’s kind of a Catch-22” Hodges said, noting that the rates were dependent on the grants they received from the state, and that it would be difficult to deny state funds.

Town Manager Robyn Fowler said the minimum gallons of water and price for a household is  $15.15 for 3,000 gallons. Once the household exceeds the gallon limit, Fowler said the price is $5.50 for each gallon that is used above the minimum.

The important thing to note regarding this whole interaction is that the residents may have been unaware of this and had mounting frustrations. The heavily attended meeting saw interaction between the town and residents, opening up a line of communication to clear up frustrations. What we don’t know leaves us in the dark. I would encourage those who attended — possibly for the first time — to continue attending. A huge part of democracy is dependent on participation.

Morgan White is a staff reporter for The K-V Dispatch. His email address is Morgan.White@KVDispatch.com.