I recently got a letter from my cable company saying that my bill was going up. It’s a notice I’ve received every January for as long as I can remember. My monthly cable bill will now hover around $130 including a few little extras and the Internet. So now we can watch CSI, Parks & Recreation, and other dramatizations of what I see at work every day, only now in high definition. It’s a service my family likes and, I suppose, it adds to our quality of life.
I can sympathize with the cable company; I am currently in the middle of implementing a rate increase for our own sewer and water customers. Cable operators are paying more for programming and Cranberry is paying more for water. So rate increases are inevitable. Except in our case, the last increase in sewer rates happened eight years ago and four years ago for water. At the new rate, my sewer and water bill will now be around $60 a month. If you add in trash service, it’s about $75.
Municipal sewer and water systems are among the most regulated industries in the nation. We’re regulated by both the state and federal governments, and those regulations are getting tighter. As the person charged by our Board of Supervisors with maintaining the two systems, I probably understand more than most the challenges we face in keeping up with clean water and sanitary sewer regulations. Sewage on TV, however, hardly seems to be regulated at all.
So when I compare the two, I am paying nearly $1,560 a year for cable and just $900 for sewer, water and trash combined. Even if you add in the Township income and property taxes I pay, it only amounts to $1,750. And that includes the live drama of 24-hour police and fire services, a library, three parks, a municipal center and street maintenance in addition to sewer, water and trash service. It’s almost a tie between Cable on Demand and Municipal Services on Demand.
If you look at it that way, Cranberry’s public services are the best bargain around, and there are never any reruns.