The Town of Murray Water Department is in financial trouble. They have been kicking the can of mismanagement down the road far too long and water district residents are left holding the bag.
Each water district contract is clear. Operation and Maintenance is already included in your water bill and should not be included in your property taxes. Water district tax is specifically levied to pay long-term bond principal and interest for construction, nothing else. When the bond is paid off, the water tax should go away and residents left with only a water bill, no tax.
However, the Murray Town Board has not been applying all your payments towards your long-term bond debt by diverting a portion for unintended purposes including operation and maintenance. Consequently our water districts are not being managed as they were designed resulting in an unsustainable department which relies on a tax-and-spend philosophy.
A major contributing factor to the financial shortfall in our water department is water loss. Water District #2 extends along Ridge Road and has an alleged water leak beginning in 2014 of approximately 15 million gallons at a cost of $50,000. The Town Board has budgeted for a continued water loss in that district this year. Why is the Town Board not proceeding full steam ahead to locate and stop that leak? Where’s the puddle? Where’s the sink hole? Where’s the water going? Questions loom.
The Town Board just approved raising our water rates .25/1000 gallons. Raising our rates is merely kicking the can down the road. Although the town adopted a revised policy for water users it neglected to comprehensively address the operational funding shortfalls of the water department. It never mentioned water loss.
At the April meeting the town board was provided with a resolution adopted by the Town of Gaines in which Gaines refunded to its water district residents their water district taxes used for unintended purposes. The exact same scenario we are experiencing. I look forward to the Murray Town Board’s response and subsequent refund.
Solutions can be found in better management. Management of the town’s water department is fairly simple. Basic water district policy is commonly used throughout the state. If our town board can’t properly account for our water department, what else are they mismanaging?