Putting and End to Sprawl
Learn how Russ saved taxpayers millions of dollars while slowing sprawl in Raleigh. Click here for details.
Saving Water and Ratepayer Dollars
Learn how Russ reduced the City Manager's proposed 17% water rate increase. Click here for details.
Conserving Water And Pricing It Fairly
Learning From The Drought: The drought of 2007-08 was the worst on record and overturned the conventional wisdom that safe drinking water is a cheap and inexhaustible commodity. Over the past years, I have worked with fellow Councilors, water conservation experts and Raleigh citizens to outline a new, more sustainable approach to conserving water and pricing it fairly.
Developer Capacity Fees: Most folks know that developer impact fees pay for new roads and parks, but who pays for new water and sewer plants needed to serve new growth? The answer is: you, the existing utility customers pay almost all of these costs, amounting to millions of dollars a year. Back in early 2008, Raleigh and Fuquay-Varina were the only two municipalities in Wake County that didn’t charge developers a ‘capacity fee’ to help pay for new water and sewer plants. As chair of Council’s Public Works Committee I have researched this issue and brought forward a proposal to reduce Raleigh customers’ utility bills by making growth pay its fair share of the cost of new water and sewer treatment plants. Council voted in April of 2009 to begin phasing in Capacity fees so that developers in Raleigh pay the same amount they do in other Wake County municipalities. Click here to watch the WRAL news report from 2008.
Tiered Water Rates: Our current flat-rate pricing charges all water users the same rate, no matter how much they consume (or waste). Why not encourage conservation by starting with a low basic rate, then set progressively higher rates for higher consumption? The Council voted to establish a tiered water rate system that will go into effect in December 2009.
Conservation Incentives: Tiered pricing will encourage larger users to conserve, but will also challenge some users who haven’t had to conserve in the past. Why not offer conservation incentives such as rebates on low-use toilets and appliances, rain barrels and cisterns and high-efficiency irrigation systems? The Council recently voted to have its water experts panel recommend a list of conservation incentives to go along with the new tiered pricing plan. The first incentive - a $100 rebate for installing efficient toilets was announced in April of 2009.