I give kudos to Richard Shaw for his March 25, 2008 (Sun Advocate) editorial "Public meetings are not only for the few." The public does in fact need to come out in force and let our public officials know we are concerned and want to know what is going on.
On March 18 I attended the Price River Water Improvement District rate increase hearing. Considering the number of people the rate would affect, there was only a small group in attendance. The people in attendance raised many valid questions regarding the proposed rate increase.
I questioned why the district was taking on more and more infrastructure if the district is having financial issues. The board stated the developers are responsible for installing new water and sewer lines in their subdivisions. By the board's own admission major components in both the water and sewer treatment plants are in dire need of replacement.
Later in the meeting I wanted to ask a question regarding development in the last five years. I raised my hand several times and was totally ignored by the chairman of the board just prior to his calling for the hearing to be adjourned. Someone sitting behind me stood up and spoke their piece, once again the chairman again asked for the hearing to be adjourned without acknowledging me and the hearing was stopped.
The PRWID's water system needs a hydraulic study (cost estimated by the Board is $300,000) to verify delivery capability. Existing pressure and flow does not meet national standards for fire protection in many areas if not all of Carbon County.
This hearing reaffirmed one of the reasons I think so few people participate in PRWID's hearings: to put it simply, because they feel most issues are a done deal. The board only answered questions they wanted to. Public hearings are required by law, transparency is not. If you show up too often with concerns you are labeled a troublemaker.
I understand the need for rate increases as I served a number of years on the Carbonville Water Company board, however, this increase only partially addresses the bond issue, does nothing for replacement equipment, training, or the needed hydraulic study, or what is needed to meet the national standards for fire protection.