Milton lacks sewer debt transparency

On Sept. 3, the Milton City Council approved a first reading of an ordinance to increase sewer rates 18% to meet debt service payments associated with an upcoming sewer improvement project. The new rate proposed is $14.81 per 1,000 gallons, equivalent to an additional $2.31 per 1,000 gallons above current rates. While the city is likely justified in increasing the sewer rate to cover cost of debt, they are not transparent about the actual monthly debt cost that must be paid and how long it will take to pay off the debt. The rate increase proposed, if approved, will continue in force even after the debt is paid off.

What can you do to make the city transparent to customers about the debt cost and how long it will take to pay it off? Attend the Oct. 1 public hearing at Milton City Hall and let the city know your concerns. Unlike the 2% surcharge on non-city customers (which is still being challenged on non-compliance issues and has not yet received Public Service Commission approval), the proposed sewer rate increase will most likely require a protest petition to have the PSC hear your concerns. To receive a public hearing by the PSC will require at least 25% of all water/sewer customers to sign a petition to request a hearing with the PSC.

If you are not satisfied with the city's terms of paying off the service debt when the city provides details about it, then come to the Oct. 1 public hearing and sign the protest petition.

Earl Trawick



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