Letter: Fraser’s special assessment isn’t needed
December 12, 2013
To the Editor:
Fraser residents voted against increasing property taxes in the last election, so the town board decided to raise our water and sewer rates at their last meeting. In addition, they recommended a special assessment, which would unfairly charge water users in the north part of Fraser (Old Town and Ptarmigan) an additional $113 for 2014. In total, that's a nearly $200 increase for most of Fraser water users for 2014.
The town staff and town board claim we need the special assessment to provide $100,000 to research augmentation alternatives for the north part of Fraser. They claim they cannot use water fund money because only the north part of Fraser needs additional augmentation and the water fund includes contributions from all of Fraser. They say just the north part of Fraser should pay.
We believe this is wrong. With this approach, the north part of Fraser would have to pay a special assessment every time the north system needs something new or needs to be fixed. The Town has accumulated $800,000 in the water fund, about half earmarked for reserves. We have these savings in case annual costs are greater than revenues and for large major projects. This is one of those projects; it shouldn't require a special assessment.
Most of the money that has been saved in the water fund is from the north part of Fraser, and most of the future costs will be too. If the town board wants special assessments on water users in the north part of Fraser for projects there, it might be better to start up a separate fund. We should all care about Fraser's welfare, including the north part of Fraser's antiquated and incomplete water system, and be willing to use existing water funds for this project rather than have a special assessment.
If you care about fairness in Fraser's finances, if you voted against the property taxes and don't want rate increases, please attend tonight's Town Board meeting, 7 p.m. at the Fraser Town Hall. We have one last chance to object to these increases.