Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Rising water rates are creating a crisis in Kansas City that threatens the management of City Hall Water Services with a deluge of pointed questions.

To wit . . .


This really is an EPIC SCREED THAT COULD UNITE THE URBAN CORE WITH CONSERVATIVE TAX FIGHTERS . . . The letter is comprehensive and we could only include the first portion of it before the jump . . . Keep reading to read this important list of complaints, grievances and an upcoming call to action that could INSPIRE A KANSAS CITY WATER DEPT. AUDIT that locals have been demanding for years.

Checkit the latest note after OUR BLOG COMMUNITY BROKE THIS STORY over the weekend:

RE: Complaint Against Water Rate Hike of April 2016

Kansas City Water Services
4800 E. 63rd Street
Kansas City, MO. 64130

Dear Mr. Leeds:

Recently, I and a group of water company ratepayers and concerned citizens met to discuss how to respond to your April 2016 water rate hike, which doubled and even tripled water rates of most residential customers. We created a group, “Right2Water Coalition-KCMO,” which is a watchdog group, designed to compel regulatory compliance, fairness in the water rate structure, and community control of water service.

Your April rate hike of double the amount of customers’ bills concerns us greatly. We believe your rationale that it must be done to address the sewage infrastructure crisis, and that EPA is compelling you to bill Kansas City ratepayers $2.5 billion is false, and we believe that these are numbers you have made up yourself. We are not saying that the financial necessity does not exist for the construction project, but we believe that the company’s construction request contains an inflated figure, and further believe that you have not stated the economic necessity for it. We feel that there is no financial justification for such a massive customer rate hike over a 25-year period to obtain it, and that there has to be a better method You just are not considering it. Finally, we believe that you are not locked into the kind of pipes or other construction products you purchase from a particular vendor, and should be seeking to save money, instead of adopting a “Cadillac plan” of profligate overspending. Ratepayers are on the hook for whatever you do.

Why was there no consideration of a one-cent sales tax over 25 years, similar to that for the newly inaugurated downtown streetcar service? Why not try to raise taxes (or secure municipal bonds) for an equivalent amount from residents of the entire city and surrounding county, any of which depends on KC Water Services? In addition, why are people who use less than 2,500 gallons of water seeing any increase at all, that is, if you are concerned about overburdening the poor and low income workers with these hikes to their bills? Further, we question if commercial and industrial customers received similar rate hikes for sewer infrastructure since you have kept this a company secret from the media and public. In our opinion, businesses generally should pay much more than residential customers for their services, and they should bear the lion’s share of all payments toward the current sewer infrastructure repairs. If they use more water and have more toilets, like Kauffman Stadium, they should be paying more, as just one example.

Finally, sir, if the city and water company officials had applied to EPA for infrastructure grants from their Clean Water State Revolving Fund years ago, when company and government officials first realized they were polluting the Missouri River with sewage, then the city likely would have gotten federal grant money and federal support, rather than a massive $600,000+ fine for violating the Clean Water Act. This is a matter of bad leadership, poor planning, and dishonesty by local government officials. This is why it is hard for us to believe you now when you say you need $2.5 billion in project funds, as we believe the figure may be much smaller, and if you obtained this amount, much of the surplus of this money would be transferred to the General Operating Fund of the city government for unrestricted and unaccountable spending by politicians.
We are also concerned about the possible shutoffs of many customers’ water service altogether, more than your “assistance plan” can possibly handle because of these and other water rate hikes affecting so many people. Most families cannot pay $200-$300 per month, which is the projected cost for your service over the next few years. If this happens, we could quickly have a social crisis like Detroit or Flint, Michigan, where thousands have no water at all, because of mass shutoffs and their inability to pay. We fear that this city’s water service is also becoming unaffordable.

In April 2016, local government and company officials also created the “Cost of Service Task Force,” which supposedly is looking for diversified funding. This body supports the public posture that KC Water is investigating other sources of funding for the sewage repair project. Well, EPA grant-making may still be possible from the Clean Water Fund, but there are also numerous other grants from both government and corporate foundations. This would drive down significantly the amount of revenue expected to be paid by local water ratepayers. In fact, it is irresponsible, and would be mismanagement of the worst sort to place the entire burden on residential ratepayers alone for the years of neglect by local government and company officials.

We therefore emphatically urge your Cost of Service Task Force to begin to immediately consider an EPA grant and other such funding sources, and not continue with their charade of how to pick the pockets of ratepayers, and make them accept your corporate plan as being in their own interest, or the only possible option.

We Object to the composition and Functioning of the Cost of Water Task Force.

In addition to the April 2016 water rate hike, we object to the undemocratic process used to select the members of the Cost of Services Task Force. It is stocked with 15 well-heeled, politically connected cronies of the mayor and representatives of big business and commercial customers. Further, it is a conflict of interest to have city council members be on this COS Task Force, since they voted for the creation of the body and serve in the local government. This is clearly unethical, and ratepayers can have no faith in the veracity of such a process. There is not even one low-income ratepayer among these 15 appointees. This is a travesty, but it points out that this body is totally unresponsive and just a political sounding board, not a body seeking to work with all the ratepayers of your company to come up with actual solutions to the sewer infrastructure crisis. This COS-TF body needs to be dismantled and reconstructed to ensure that everyone has a voice and seat at the table, even those who disagree with company methods.

This COS Task Force structure, as presently constructed, is all one-way communication, which makes it clear that low income and residential customers need their own organization, a pressure group that will make you listen to us, and which allows us to express a dissident opinion. We do not accept a puppet body which does not express our needs and concerns. We therefore created the Right2Water Coalition-KCMO, an independent non-governmental and non-corporate watchdog to ensure accountability and to challenge authority in this matter. We will contact you again and attend some of your COS-TF meetings where we will raise our positions and concerns on behalf of ratepayers. Thank you.


Right2Water Coalition-KC MO


Anonymous said...

This shows us that KC politics is a dog and pony show. Get people looking one direction at the airport and then hit them with higher water bills.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons that KC is attractive to the "millennials" is the low cost of living. The water rates are ruining that advantage.

Greedo said...

Is this something that a pizza party can fix?

If now, I wouldn't expect any real solution forthcoming.

chuck said...

Yeoman like work from Mr. Botello.

You will see the local MSM pick up on this now with an abbreviated nod to the anger of the people and excuses for the incompetence at City Hall.

Anonymous said...

Simply passing the cost of this infrastructure repair onto customers shows a lack of intelligent thought.

Anonymous said...

The water fund and the aviation fund are the "go to' City slush funds for political projects. Remember the Swope Park soccer fields paid for out of water/sewer funds over the vocal opposition of the neighborhood groups. Sewer funds/ water fund are targeted to support failed projects like Beacon Hills, Columbus Park, and all of the other "political friend" development projects....not to the basic neighborhoods of this City. As a result struggling citizens subsidize these projects through their higher water bills.

Anonymous said...

Instead of creating these endless new ad hoc groups to complain about pretty much everything, wouldn't it be more intelligent and even easier to actually get out and vote in KCMO city elections?
And maybe even surface some candidates who see themselves as residents who are actually interested in serving the public instead of playing big-time D-list celebrity politicos?
Happens all the time throughout the rest of the metro.
Worth a try?
Never mind!

Anonymous said...

ive notice elderly people at hy vee buying dog food lately to save on money to pay there water bill. i asked the one lady what kind of dog they had and she just looked at me. so yea where is the audit

Anonymous said...

I'm not very sympathetic. Just a few months ago the mayor was telling the fine citizens of KC tha tif they didn't pass the earnings tax their property taxes would increase considerably. So, as usual, the Peckerwoods of KC sat on their fat asses and the remainder ran out and crammed an earnings tax down the throats of people who live outside the city, have no say, no vote, no rights whatsoever.What is the first thing hat happens afterwards? A HUGE increase in water rates and reduction in police services. In spite of folks screaming that you would be an idiot for taking the bait the geniuses of KC jumped on the mayor's train to nowhere.

Suck it up folks. You are getting exactly what you deserve for spending decades being apathetic about what the hell has been going on in the city. I'd love it if this water mess would wake up the numb nuts of KC, but I got a bridge over the Grand Canyon that says you just roll over and take it up the ass again. Poor helpless things.

Anonymous said...

Democrats be scammin'

Hyperblogal said...

The City awarded a $12 million contract to a Chicago firm to "fix" the Water Department. Inquiring mind would like to know what we got for that??

Anonymous said...

Anon 731AM... Tru dat!!!

Anonymous said...

Infrastructure built for a population of 400,000 people cost more per person to maintain when there's only 250,000 people paying for it!!!!

Stop the presses!

As long as we don't have any "gentrification", that's cool, tho.

SMARTKC, real smart.

Anonymous said...

^^^^^Good morning, trolley boy.

Anonymous said...

Facts are tough, soft-charger. Try to buck up a little. You, of all people, should be used to being wrong by now.

Anonymous said...

Someone should do some digging into the hourly amount the water department pays to the consultants/contractors they hire...that's where LOTS of money is going.

Anonymous said...

9:05: Your facts or actual facts?

Anonymous said...

You're paying for all the utility relocations and electrifications of the streetcar. They could not charge the TDD for this as it would push the streetcar total cost to taxpayers out if sight!!! Thus us just one place your water payments are going. The water department is a slush fund for City hall!!! That's why there is no audit!

Anonymous said...

So what makes the most sense is...a trolley! Ding ding!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to KCMO. 500 miles closer to Detroit every year.

Anonymous said...

What were the results of the State’s audit of the KCMO water dept?

Anonymous said...

Don't forget that Circo and Marcuson turned the Water Dept over to Burns & Mac!! What do you expect but a $3 Billion engineering project!!!

Anonymous said...

an outrage. also, a credibility-impinging reflection on leadership.

Anonymous said...

Tha toy ternz stole all the sewer money to pay fer tha..................sewerzzzz! Herfadurf! Outrage! Somebody better call the F B I ! Betcha they would want to inversrgate how tha city kiddie corps is usin all the sewer money on rebuilding tha sewers when tha streets is already torn up! I so angstay!

Steve Hanson said...

These same stupid people complaining are probably the same stupid people that voted for Mayor Sly Shit-for-brains. I don't feel a bit sorry for them.

Anonymous said...

Well Kansas City, you are getting what you deserve. You constantly vote for wasteful spending democrats who spend and spend your tax dollar revenues on things we cannot afford like "light rail" and "mayors night out" and 18th and Vine and so on and so on. In the interim, they artificially keep things like water cost down robbing the department of funds to keep up with critical infrastructure repairs and growth needs. Now it is at a much higher critical need and raising cost dramatically is the only solution. That is, of course, because the wasteful spending must continue and we must not take from the general budget.....they are too busy robbing moneys from the police making our streets so dangerous as well..........but then you are all responsible for that mess too. Cops put them in jail and you don't convict, or build prison space to house and hold bad people accountable, or you continuously elect "leaders" as judges and prosecutors that are libtards.....

Nuff said...

Water dept. needs an audit.


Crazy Clown said...

NOTICE : WHY is there NEVER EVER A State Audit by the State Inspector General, as to just where Exactly is all this CITY INCOME TAX Revenue Really going ?????????????

I DO NOT mean what Bullshit Paper work Audit KCMO City officials "Fabricate" and Dream up either !!!

All we've ever heard is that Citys income TAX is supposed to go for what they call "City Services", - they claim ???????????????

Do any of YOU actually believe that from what your seeing out there ??

Wonder if some of that City Income Tax Money is being used to Finance those Special Interest Anti-Violence Groups like AIM / Aim for Peace ????

They are NOT considred a City Service in True Reality - it would be interesting,,,,

Whole Lotta un-answered Legit Questions the Citizens of Kansas City Missouri would like to know and the TRUTH won't come out of KCMO City Hall, we've seen and been down that road before !!!

Its high past time to get State Officials in here, from the Attorney Generals Office, to the State Inspector Generals Office to the to the States AUDITORS office and then that corrupt Liberal Governor, keep in mind he'll probably cover for Crooked Sly and company tho.

The Citizens of KCMO are going to have to come together as well as those from the NORTH Land , as it will eventually affect them too !

The situation is Officially out of control !!!

We need STATE Regulators and STATE Investigators in KCMO and STATE Auditors to investigate all this and report back to the Citizens of the city, regardless of what KCMO City Hall says or thinks !

Anonymous said...

Kay Waldo/Glorioso, and others, ignored the water/sewer problems for eight years for political reasons to avoid loss of voter approval.

Funk worked on solutions.

Only visible result of $12 million to Chicago is repair insurance being pushed by Troy-boy and others.

Water Dept recently took 10 days from mail date to post my payment and assessed a $6.50 late fee. Inquiries found that my bill had been estimated for months because the old meter could not be read by the satellite.

Replacing meter finds I had been over-charged by 32 CCF(cubic hundred feet). As one cubic hundred feet equals 748 gallons, that amounts to 23,936 gallons.

Folks, check your bills and inquire.

Anonymous said...

You KC pussies aren't gonna do shit. Bitch, whine and moan and next week you'll be right back bitching. The city knows damn well you ain't doing shit about anything. They have been playing smoke and mirrors forever and nothing is going to change.

Anonymous said...

Kansas City really is much like Detroit. Run by the same kind of derelicts that crashed their community. It's a shame.

Anonymous said...

6:26 AM
Most people don't know that the Water charges are a shell game. Water services is also run through Capital Projects Department of City Hall. Citizens should realize that the only people working in that department are the lackeys that do what they are told. And we need to be following the trail. Patrick Klein was one of two Directors of the Capital Projects Department. He was promoted to Assistant City Manager and now He's Director of Aviation. You think its because of his skillset? Nah, that would be a lie. It's because of his willingness to do underhanded, unethical acts under any political administration but especially the Sly James administration. If you look at each and every person who worked in the Public Works Department in 2011, many of them have been promoted to jobs they neither deserved nor earned.

Anonymous said...

Trouble in Kansas City.

Anonymous said...

this is real, as real as when snow gets plowed or trash picked up. will be interesting to see effect. also, many salaries are stagnant because they're based on no or low inflation references.

combine with health insurance costs and other thngs like airline fares......the middle class is being screwed by how things work now.

Sister Severa said...

VOTE! If you aren't registered the don't bitch.

Anonymous said...


Another Midtown Mom said...

Hate to admit it but I have to agree with Crazy Clown.

We need an audit. Without something major happening to shake things up there is no hope of REAL change.

Anonymous said...

I believe the EPA agreement was about a decade ago. So what has the water department done in the last ten years? Saving our payments?

Anonymous said...

Bring back the Funk!

Sly, the gravy train lawyers, developers, KCPL, Burns and Mac, Black and Veatch want to have a public cash orgy

Notice how hey get the contract at Burns and Mac and the ceo heads for deep cover (gone)

Airport, take over of schools, translational medicine slush bucket, hotel, expanding a street car that doesn't serve much of the city, these guys get priorities wrong every time. But they are good at working with the Chamber for the local fix, while Marc nods like sheep