We live in a day where the facts don’t seem to matter anymore. I believe part of the problem is that many people don’t take the time to differentiate between fact and fiction, or they just believe what they want to believe. But now in the era of social media, one can compound the problem by distributing falsities as fact in their sphere of influence where someone is bound to swallow it hook line and sinker. I’m sure no one in Neosho would dare participate in such a shameful saga, but to possibly prevent such a thing from happening in the future, I will address an upcoming city issue with some simple facts today.

Greetings Neosho and thank goodness, it’s Friday!
 
We live in a day where the facts don’t seem to matter anymore. I believe part of the problem is that many people don’t take the time to differentiate between fact and fiction, or they just believe what they want to believe. But now in the era of social media, one can compound the problem by distributing falsities as fact in their sphere of influence where someone is bound to swallow it hook line and sinker. I’m sure no one in Neosho would dare participate in such a shameful saga, but to possibly prevent such a thing from happening in the future, I will address an upcoming city issue with some simple facts today.
You might have heard through the grapevine that the city is considering raising water and sewer rates. Wait! Before you hit snopes.com to see if it is a hoax, I’ll tell you that it is true. Yes, I know. I don’t like it either. For what it’s worth I’ve heard some interesting responses to this matter. Things like, “Every time we turn around they are raising the rates.” False. Unless you only turn around twice in 16 years! The last time we raised water rates was 2011, sewer rate was in 2009. But prior to that, both were raised in 2001
I’ve also heard comments like, “They are probably putting all that money into the golf course because all the councilmen like to play there.” Doubly false. Water and sewer don’t make a profit. We only make enough to keep the systems running and delivering water to your faucet when you need it. At the current rates, we are not even breaking even! Which means taxpayer funds that should be put into other important needs will have to be used to cover the loss. Also, just for the record, I have never used the golf course one time since being elected to the council, and I don’t believe I’m the only one.  Also, that is all aside from the fact that water and sewer service fee funds cannot be put into capital improvements in another department even if it were making money.
Last year I toured the water treatment plant and the wastewater plant to be more familiar with its operation and understand it better. I can tell you that it takes a lot of electricity to process our water to where it is safe to drink. And on the other end, it takes a lot of electricity and operating cost to treat wastewater. Of course, our electricity cost has gone up more than twice in 16 years, as well as manpower, equipment, fuel, insurance, etc. These are just a few facts that figure into the discussion of why we are considering raising rates.
We will be having a public hearing regarding the possibility of a rate increase. The hearing will be August 1, 2017, at Neosho City Hall, 203 East Main Street, 7:00 p.m. Everyone who attends and wishes to speak will be heard. The council welcomes new ideas and healthy discussion on city business. I have a few alternative ideas of my own to share and I would love to hear yours as well. So, until next time, remember facts matter!  

Ben Baker is the mayor of Neosho and writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.