What Would You Rather See?
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  1. #1
    McD
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    Default What Would You Rather See?

    Many of you know that I work for the water utility in my town. In addition to water, we are the billing agent for sewer and garbage.

    Our water bills increased on May 1. We put an insert with the March 1 bill to notify our customers so they can plan accordingly. We have been notified that in addition to implementing a storm water run-off charge, Public Works is raising the sewer rates effective July 1, with notice going out with the June 1 bill.
    They are starting the storm water run-off at a 1.50$ but will raise it next summer to the full $2.00 they are wanting to collect.

    Public works is notorious for stair stepping their charges. When they started billing garbage it was 6$. Every year it is increasing.

    I don't like the way Public Works is handling this. It just seems as if everytime the consumers here turn around they have a fee increasing. As the billing agent, we get the brunt of their fury.

    So I ask, as a consumer, what you would you rather have? Would you rather have the fees increase gradually with an increase every 6 months to one year? Or would you rather have the initial charge be higher with no increase in the future?

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    Registered User baxjul's Avatar
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    I'm just impressed that they put a notice in the bill. Our water/sewer company stinks, they just add the fee in and then when you call, they are snotty to you.

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    Registered User baxjul's Avatar
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    Oh, I would just as soon pay it as soon as possible, and get it over with.

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    Registered User wwe11's Avatar
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    I too would pay it all at once and be done with it.

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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    If its money I don't have to pay you later to make up for not paying now? Step it.

    I'll keep my money for as long as I can, thanks.

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    Registered User Neeley's Avatar
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    All at once.

    Here, before any utility rates or fees can be increased it has to be approved by the Public Service Commission and it is publicized. They can only go before the board every so often to ask for a rate increase so we normally get ours all at once.

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    McD
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greebo View Post
    If its money I don't have to pay you later to make up for not paying now? Step it.

    I'll keep my money for as long as I can, thanks.
    You are thinking strictly financially, correct?

    My thinking is this: May 1-water rates increase. July 1-sewer rates increase, new storm water run-off charge implemented. At some point trash is going to increase. Motivationally, this can be a kick in the pants for some people and be a catlyst type in the "I can't get a break, can't get ahead, what's the point of trying?" mindset. Particularly in a recession, when wages aren't increasing, ue is rising, etc.

    I'd rather just have the rates increase all at one then just keep having gradual increases. Or at least have notice of all increases in one month.

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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsMcDowell View Post
    You are thinking strictly financially, correct?
    Yes. I try very hard not to ever allow emotional responses to override rational conclusions.

    Rationally, since you have no choice in the increase occurring, your best option is to keep as much money as possible for as long as you can, and get the defeatist thinking in check.

    Now you would say, then why do the snowball smallest to largest? That's not the financially smartest move?

    No, it isn't - but since you *have* control over that situation, going for the small wins early on can be very encouraging, giving one greater determination to get out of debt even faster. Rationally, being FIRED UP to accomplish something helps one accomplish that goal more quickly.

    You have no such option in the situation you describe, so I'll go with the only option I can control (hypothetically) - the financial one.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsMcDowell View Post
    So I ask, as a consumer, what you would you rather have? Would you rather have the fees increase gradually with an increase every 6 months to one year? Or would you rather have the initial charge be higher with no increase in the future?
    Not only would I like to keep my money for a long as I can, I wouldn't trust them to not have other increases AFTER the one big increase.

    They always find something that they need more money for. Ours increase every year......we have no say. The only ones that have to go to the PUC is the gas and elec. and they usually do it.....EVERY YEAR.

    For my area, the one that never notifies you is the phone company. You just open your bill and some 'fee' has gone up. Mine just went up last month by some cents.

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    Registered User lparker's Avatar
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    Sounds like your sewer and storm water uses the same system...that's bad for the ecology...big storm and the sewage gets dumped into a river. If you really want to hear a lot of bellyaching, suggest that they should put in a dedicated storm water system and raise taxes.

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    I would prefer the stepped increase IF I knew it was instead of a big increase all at once. I would be annoyed to see my bill get a new charge every month, but if I was told in advance that it was going up incrementally as an alternative to going up all at once I would be happy to keep my extra buck or two in the first couple months. Unfortunately most people don't pay attention to notices from utility companies, and all the incremental increase will really do is extend the length of time customers are calling to complain. One increase and you get the complaints out of the way all at once, three increases and they call for months.

    Reminds me of when I was at the bank and they said people were sick of being nickled and dimed to death - so they restructured the fees to encourage people to pay a flat rate for the month. One big fee, a dozen little fees, didn't matter, everyone still complained.

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    Registered User mombottoo's Avatar
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    Gradual increases with notification prior to increases taking affect.
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    Registered User dcompton's Avatar
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    If it were a substantial amount of money, I would want it stair-stepped. But .50? Just go on and get it over with and stop bombarding me with notices and leave me alone.

    I know it's not properly frugal, but there it is. It seems like bad public relations too, because it would seem like they were always raising the rates, even if it's only pennies.

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    Registered User Josephhgoins's Avatar
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    I would rather do it like a Band-Aid and just get it over with. Fees that constantly increase only annoy me and make me first want to be rude and hateful to you and second do whatever I can to stop using you.

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    Registered User Liane's Avatar
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    My head is spinning after reading all of the comments. I agree with wanting to hold onto your money and stepping the fee. Everything will increase over time. It is rare for most things to ever decrease. Here we do not have a trash fee. I suppose it is in our taxes somewhere but we do not get a separate bill for that. It amazes me how different towns, cities and states find ways to charge you for different things, scary stuff.

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