A new stormwater utility fee was just approved by the Newton City Council, as there is no money to fix the streets and sewers. By 2025, the monthly fee will be $9/month, along with the $15.16 recycling/garbage fee that will be in place then. $24.16 on a water bill and you haven’t even turned on the faucet. Water and sewer rates will probably be up. Yet it’s all downplayed as “minimal charges.”
Why isn’t there money? Who has voted yes to approve the budgets, spending, borrowing and bonding every year? Who has generously funded housing incentives, “economic development,” spent $690,000 on Newton Motor Inn, loaned money to the Hotel Maytag, fixed up Legacy Plaza, among other things? Who has raised property taxes in recent years? The Newton City Council. Yet — no money for street and sewer improvements.
It seems to me the council should take a long, hard look at what their priorities are. If sewer and street improvements have been high on the list of city projects, then why wasn’t money set aside for it? City obligations such as streets, sewers, maintenance, etc., should come long before any other project is even considered. Perhaps if the city had been more fiscally responsible with valuable tax dollars, a stormwater fee would not have been necessary.