At-Large Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman filed comments with the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission on Thursday in opposition to the proposed 16.9% rate increase on Springfield residents due to lost revenues as the result of COVID-19.
“It is unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in lost revenue for the Water and Sewer Commission, however the entire shortfall cannot be passed on to Springfield ratepayers,” said Councilor Lederman “Passing the cost of the lost revenue solely on to the ratepayers during such perilous economic times does not seem to be in line with the broader local, state, and federal efforts to prepare our communities for economic recovery.”
Lederman said he supports the Commission’s efforts to pursue relief funding from state and federal sources to address the shortfall in revenue precipitated by the decreased consumption levels as the result of stay-at-home orders, and also submitted a letter Thursday to the city's state and federal legislative delegation reflecting that support.
“The shortfall of revenue related to the COVID-19 pandemic is not unique to the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission,” said Lederman, “It is likely to be a nationwide phenomenon, and should be addressed in the relief bills being considered at the state and federal level. Lost revenue by the Commission should be tracked and eligible for some form of relief similar to the way that city’s and towns are tracking lost revenue and COVID-19 related expenditures.”
Councilor Lederman adds that past Council meetings with the Commission have highlighted the need for the type of infrastructure improvements already under way.
“Water is essential. We cannot sacrifice safe and reliable drinking water, and we must ensure that the resources to maintain and improve our system for the future exist after many years of deferred maintenance,” said Councilor Lederman.
Finally, Councilor Lederman wants to thank Water and Sewer Commission employees who have stayed on the job to ensure the water system is operational during the pandemic.
“I am grateful to the essential workers at the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission who are still on the job ensuring our water system remains operational during this time,” said Councilor Lederman.