|EENER meeny miny moe, catch a townie by the toe|
Penalties for using more water than deemed appropriate were suspended by the City Council a few months back. These punishments had been established, but then were never activated. They were just there. However, the CC also tasked the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Commission (or EENRC, an unfortunate acronym then Councilcritter Nancy Walsh had swiped from those colorful cut-ups at "The COG"), to deliberate upon the punitory propensities of all this and return with some informed recommendations to the Council.
Well, long story short, it would appear that the EENERs want to crack you upside your water using head a whole lot harder than even the City Council dared suggest when all of this was first coming together. With penalty payment rates that are exponentially higher than before. And they want to start doing it right about now.
As you might know, my feelings for the EENER Commission have never been warm. My take on this rhythm has always been that when then Mayor John Buchanan first imposed the idea in the form of the Green Committee, his intentions were not exactly pure. His true purpose being that if you want to impose something on the townies that is extremely unpopular, you get a Green Committee type resident body to make the recommendation first.
Then, when whatever the unloved initiative might be does get brought up at a City Council meeting, all the elected would then have the luxury of saying this is being done at the request of the Green Committee. All of which conveniently gives a Mayor or Councilmembers the ability to deny that "this difficult decision" was ever their idea. Especially when it really was.
Today, of course, we have the EENERs, and apparently they are rather mad at you over your biological dependence on water. And should their recommendations actually go through Tuesday evening, you could get the holy hopping bejeezus fined out of you for not substantially curbing your use of it.
Here is the section of the relevant Staff Report containing this unhappy news:
There you go. Instead of the original 2 to 3 times penalty rate, you would now be dunned at a 2 to 10 times rate instead. How sweet of them. And it is not like this is a water rate increase requiring a Prop 218 "process" or anything, right? You know that? Good, then will you please tell me why it isn't?
Because that is what it looks like to me.
So what if you decide to appeal all of this crazy stuff? Fight back, as it were. Then you'd better have your "water audit done by water conservation-certified staff" in place first.
There's a visit you could live without.
Like I said, if you are a Mayor or City Council person who wants to get some unpopular piece of legislation in place, especially one that involves the taking of even more money, it is best to first find residents who will make that recommendation for you.
That's why they call them EENERs, I guess.