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Mayor O'Connell's Statement to LCA

Mayor O'Connell's Statement to LCA

Good evening. Thank you for the opportunity to address you on this most important issue.

LCA’s proposal to change the frequency of its bills for water and sewer from quarterly to monthly will increase the fixed charges payable by residents of Allentown.

This increase in fixed charges billed for water and sewer to the average residential customer is estimated to cost $156 per year – a 107% increase in the first year alone, with additional annual increases thereafter.

That is unconscionable and a clear violation of the Lease.

This increase will generate approximately five million dollars ($5,000,000) for LCA in the first year and then this charge will be increased annually for the remaining 46 years of the Lease—all paid for by City residents.

City customers cannot reduce this charge be using less water. It is fixed and is not impacted by water conservation.

City ratepayers are not getting any additional services for this increase. LCA is converting to monthly billing to fund its financial shortfall.

The City understands LCA has considerable financial obligations to its creditors and bondholders, but it cannot endeavor to satisfy those obligations by milking families of modest means in Allentown.

The Lease was designed to provide a fair return to LCA from users of the water and sewer systems, but also to protect citizens of the City by strictly limiting permitted rate increases.

I have serious concerns that our low income families cannot afford this increase. LCA cannot downplay the true impact which will be felt by countless members of our community.

The City is prepared to take any and all legal remedies to block the implementation of this rate increase and protect its residents.

To summarize,
• Increasing fixed charges by converting to monthly billing is a clear violation of the Lease
• You can’t reduce this charge by using less water.
• The impact on typical residential customers is $156 dollars per year.
• We’re not getting any more services for this increase.

City Council, City Staff, and I stand for the families, the citizens of Allentown and encourage them to attend LCA meetings and speak out.

Contact LCA Board members to make your concerns known.

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