After attending a public hearing and reviewing the Metropolitan Sewer Districts’ web site, I think I understand why MSD is proposing significant rate increases over the next six years. These increased rates are due primarily to proposed improvements to infrastructure. MSD has nearly 3,000 miles of stormwater infrastructure to maintain and upgrade.
MSD management is proposing that in August 2008, the St. Louis region vote for a 275 million dollar bond issue. If the voters pass this bond issue, the rate increases would be spread over more than six years and the monthly charges to the average household would be reduced by approximately 18%.
At first glance this seems to be a sound strategy. However, the difference between the average household monthly charge with the bond issue, compared to the average household monthly charge without the bond issue, is between $4.00 and $8.00 per month - less than 3 cents a day. MSD management needs to be asked, how much more is it going to cost tax payers to fund the 275 million bond issue?
Before I vote for the 275 million dollar bond issue, I need to know: What is the anticipated bond interest rate? How many years will it take to pay off the bonds? How much will be saved, over the long run, by not purchasing these bonds?
(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)
Lowe "Sandy" MacLean is vice chancellor emeritus, University of Missouri, St. Louis, and is active in local political and community organizations, including the Grand Order of Pachyderms (GOP), a service organization for the Republican Party.