Posts Tagged ‘City of Des Moines’March 17, 2017
New Des Moines Water radio ad warns of the downfalls regarding handing over the water utility to politicians.
DES MOINES, Iowa (March 17, 2017) – In response to legislation being considered by the Iowa House of Representatives, the Des Moines Water Works began running radio ads in central Iowa this week that encourages people to contact their state legislators and ask them to oppose House File 484.
The ad, entitled “Drip,” outlines the problems with letting politicians take over this independent utility. The ad also reminds listeners of the $40 million class action the City of Des Moines lost by illegally placing additional fees on gas and electric utility bills.
The legislation pending in the Iowa House would dissolve the Des Moines Water Works and transfer the utilities assets and management over to the Des Moines city council. A recent poll conducted by Harper Polling from March 9th to 12th found that 86% of registered voters rated the quality service provided by their local water utility at excellent or good.
“There is absolutely no need to dismantle the water boards in the metro area that have decades of experience of delivering safe and affordable drinking water,“ said Bill Stowe, CEO and General Manager, Des Moines Water Works. “Water utility boards were set up independent from city councils for a reason – to protect a public health necessity from politics.”
In addition to high marks from water quality and service, the poll also shows that voters overwhelmingly oppose the legislation. Only 15 percent of respondents favor the controversial bill, while 68 percent oppose it. Additionally, the survey showed a staggering 88 percent of voters believe that people who live in the community should have the final say over whether or not to remove an independent utility, not the state legislature (5%).
Script of the ad:
FEMALE VOICE-OVER TALENT/SFX
“That sound you hear… it’s the slow drip of big government grabbing hold of another part of your life.”
Kids splashing at pool, pouring a glass of water, a sprinkler in the yard, and faucet or shower being turned on. (SFX)
…it’s your water.
For nearly one hundred years, the Des Moines Water Works has delivered safe and affordable drinking water… it was set up independent from the Des Moines city council for one reason – to protect OUR drinking water from politics.
… but now…politicians in the state legislature… have a bill to dismantle the Des Moines Water Works… HF 484… which would give control over to the City of Des Moines. The same city of Des Moines that has a track record of financial mismanagement and recently lost a $40 million class action lawsuit over charging gas and electric customers an illegal fee.
Don’t let the management of delivering us safe and affordable drinking water be put it in the hands of politicians.
Call your State representatives today at 515-281-3221 and tell them to STOP playing politics with your drinking water, and vote NO on HF 484
Paid for by the Des Moines Water Works.
About Des Moines Water Works
Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is a municipal water utility serving the citizens of Des Moines and surrounding communities (approximately 500,000 people). DMWW is an independently operated public utility with a commitment to leading, advocating and investing today and in the future to deliver water you can trust for life.
Your “water bill” from Des Moines Water Works is actually a combined billing statement for water and services provided by the City of Des Moines. Some customers are surprised to learn that Des Moines Water Works is a municipality separate from the City of Des Moines. Des Moines Water Works is governed by a five- member Board of Water Works Trustees, and the City of Des Moines is governed by the City Council. While the Board of Water Works Trustees has oversight for setting policy and rates for water service, the Des Moines City Council has oversight for setting policy and rates for the city services of sanitary sewer, solid waste and storm water, which appear on your Des Moines Water Works bill.
The City of Des Moines (and other local communities served by Des Moines Water Works) contracts with Des Moines Water Works to perform the billing, collecting, and customer service for their municipal services. This collaboration is positive for customers, because it helps reduce redundancies in technologies and staff, and therefore keeps costs lower for customers. It can, however, be confusing. For the average residential customer who opens their water bill, it would be easy to mistakenly think “water” costs around $70.00 per month. In fact, in Des Moines, city services make up about $50.00 or 70% of the “water bill.” The remaining $20.00 per month represents the average customer’s true water charges – a price tag well below other utilities for which customers are paying, including electricity, gas, cable/satellite, cell phone, etc.
The Des Moines Water Works statement you receive each month includes a breakout of all the services for which you are being charged, and each section of the bill reflects whether it is a service provided by Des Moines Water Works or your city. Better understanding your monthly statement can help you better understand Des Moines Water Works’ commitment to delivering tap water that is safe, convenient, and affordable.
Owned by the citizens of Des Moines and managed by a Board of Trustees, Des Moines Water Works is independent from the City of Des Moines. But it wasn’t always that way.
The Des Moines Water Company was formed in 1871 as a privately owned company. In 1898, the City tried to purchase the company but the citizens voted it down. The vote eventually passed in 1911, but the sale wasn’t finalized. It was not until 1919 that a favorable vote of the citizens brought about public ownership by the City. The water company was organized as a public utility under the Code of Iowa, and the name was changed to Des Moines Water Works. At that time, the population of Des Moines was about 125,000, and there were 23,210 water services.
In 1923, the legislature removed the Board of Water Works Trustees from the City Council’s supervision. At that time, it became law that the Board would have the same powers as the City Council with the exception of levying taxes, and members would be appointed by the Mayor, subject to approval by the City Council. The Board is responsible for appointing the chief executive officer/general manager who is accountable for operation of the utility in accordance with law and Board policies.
In summary, Des Moines Water Works is an independently operated public utility with a commitment to providing quality water in reliable quantities to approximately 500,000 people in the Greater Des Moines area.