Beaumont council: Nickel and dime us, how about?

One hears the term “nickel and diming” quite often these days. Most often the phrase is mentioned during discussions about the airline industry which — facing huge losses due to higher fuel prices or so they claim — has proposed charging passengers for every extra that can possibly be conceived.

“Would you like a pillow, sir?”

“Why yes. Thanks.”

“No problem. That will be $15.”

“Oh, sir, you say you need an airsickness bag? They are $5 each. And please have the correct … oh my …”

Everyone during times of financial difficulty seems to think nickel and diming is the way to go. For example, the city government where I live is beginning to use nickel and dime economics.

A story on local TV station KFDM Channel 6 last night said the Beaumont (Texas) City Council wants to raise water rates on those who rent apartments and homes. It would seem likely the reason for the increase is the fact that they can. But the stated reason is that:

” … people in apartment complexes and mobile homes have been paying less than homeowners for more than two decades.” This according to Hani Tohme, the city water utilities director.

Renters would pay an extra $7-9 per month and the city would reap about a million bucks. Whoo hoo! Future renters should not expect to see “water paid” as part of the rent package, at least in my estimation.

The city says the money would go back into its infrastructure but other than fixing drainage and sprucing up downtown for turistas, I don’t see a lot of infrastructure being improved. Just take a drive down Seventh Street in Old Town and see if the ruts and potholes don’t shake you up like a jackhammer.

Many renters are those who are spending every spare $7-9 they get each month on all those unimportant items such as gasoline to get to work (about 2 gallons as it stands), food and medicine (a couple of generic ‘scrips from Wally World.)

I hope the Beaumont City Council gets an earful when it takes up the water rate hike in August. The council needs to show that it needs the money and give a detailed explanation of how it will be spent. I also think the council needs to spread the pain around so us “non-wealthy” individuals won’t have to carry the water for those who aren’t hurting quite so bad. There is always hope but I won’t hold my breath.

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