It's high time the Billings City Council looks at a new and different way to structure our water rates. Consider the way we mail a package. We pay by distance and weight of our package. Likewise, when we fly across the country, we pay by distance and class seating. When we made long-distance phone calls, we paid by distance and length of the call.
So, why is it that Billings cannot figure out zones for water rates? Why is someone living in a million-dollar house in Ironwood and miles from our city limits paying the same residential water rate that my old neighbors struggling to make their mortgage payments on the South Side are paying? Billings stepped in and rescued Briarwood and their failing water and sewer system. Likewise, Billings City Council voted to let Blain’s Mobile Home Court use our system. Now, Lockwood needs our water and sewer system. Both Blain’s Mobile Home Court and Lockwood are in Yellowstone County. They have no investment in our facilities and do not pay city taxes.
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I say users outside our city should pay much higher water and sewer rates. When rates are re-structured, considerations of the cost of pumping stations and distance of pipes should be figured in the zones. It's not about gallons of water — it should be about the cost of service. This is a fairness issue.