Notice's clarity

Dear Editor:Today I received my Notice of Public Hearing on the city's proposed sanitary sewer increase, slated on March 23. With my last few city sanitation services bills in my hands, it wasn't any strain for me to calculate what my (hefty) increase would be if the proposal is adopted as is by the City Council. I am experienced in this kind of thing, but is this going to be the case for the average Downey sewer rate payer? With all the justifications for the sewer rate increase given in the notice, the writer(s) neglected the most important element, and that is clarity of presentation. To put it succinctly, it should include a simple example of a sewer charge calculation before, and after, an increased rate for comparison purposes, and not just a set of three "after" examples like in the blue box in the middle of the second page. This is what an engineer would be expected to do (I am speaking from personal experience, having been an aerospace engineer in and around Downey until my retirement 21 years ago). You cannot expect from the average layman to effectively assemble such data, in order to make an informed and accurate decision in a matter such as this. The purpose of this letter is not to criticize this city proposal or to raise a protest at this time. I am not a specialist in sanitary sewer maintenance and therefore in no position now to judge its merits. But I do feel that if our city's powers-that-be want to increase my sewer fee by a factor of four to five, they owe me a better explanation than the half-baked story they presented with this notice. It seems like it was written by a hurried city bureaucrat, and frankly, it would give bureaucrats a bad name! - Gerald Altman, Downey

********** Published: February 12, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 43