Your Views: Sewers were an unfunded mandate

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To the editor:

On May 21, the AlexRenew board will consider the drastic rate hikes which had their public hearing on May 11. These back-to-back rate hikes will increase what folks pay by 25 percent in two stages, mainly to pay for the combined sewer project Richmond jammed down the city’s throat in what can only be described as an egregious unfunded mandate.

The state legislature’s republicans normally know better than to ramrod an unfunded mandate down taxpayers’ throats, but this time they made an exception with the vile claim that “wealthy Alexandria” can afford it. During this year’s legislative session, Del. Mark Levine had to force them to give us a paltry $25 million toward the combined sewer project – estimated to cost more than a half billion dollars – by blocking the republicans’ attempt to conform Virginia’s tax law to the federal tax cut.

Now, our own city-appointed AlexRenew board seems poised to ratify their claim that “wealthy Alexandria can afford” half a billion dollars by imposing this exorbitant rate increase which the board could reduce by choosing 30-year bonds instead of the proposed 20-year bonds and by basing the cost on an assumption that the legislature will give us the same 20 percent funding it gave Richmond and Lynchburg.

Tax increase on top of tax increase will eventually drive out Alexandria’s struggling middle class and make the republicans’ claim that “wealthy Alexandria can afford it” self-fulfilling.

-Dino Drudi, Alexandria

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