Letters to the editor for Jan. 4, 2012

Union Democrat staff

TUD observations

To the Editor:

When I spoke at the TUD public forum against the rate increase I brought up our concern about a 50 percent increase in the base rate. Then I questioned the union pay increase, but forgot to bring up the fact that TUD policy raises pay for non-union employees when a union increase occurs. So where is the incentive to re-negotiate the contract? People have recognized the outspoken Dr. Retherford as a ratepayer advocate, but not the soft spoken Barbara Balen who is also a ratepayer advocate.

But the story gets better. It's been over a decade since my wife and I, with others, including Ralph and Barbara, started walking and championing the ditch system. After a while we unofficially started calling ourselves "The Ditch Guardians" and offered TUD to be voluntary ditch monitors. The potential savings in being TUD's eyes was clear to us. While walking the ditches we saw the true cost of aggressive guniting, brown zones of dead and wind fallen trees that died from gunite the year before. TUD needs to find the most cost effective ways to fix leaks without causing more work (and overtime) to clear ditch canals and causing fire hazards which raise neighborhood fire insurance rates. Another cost cutting measure Barbara strongly advocated for was the use of baseline crews to clean the ditches. This is now finally being implemented, however, short sighted, narrow minded NIMBY's are trying to end this cost saving effort like they did with The Ditch Guardians. With over a decade of monitoring TUD, making friends and respecting TUD's quality of work, my wife and I expect/hope their next rate plan will be much more realistic.

Ed Ellefsen


The Union Democrat
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