Proposition S, the Arnold ballot measure to authorize the sale of the sewer system to Missouri American Water (MAW), passed on Tuesday by a 70-30 margin. Here are some notes on the vote:
- Missouri American Water’s political action committee, Clean Water Healthy Communities, spent approximately $244,000 of MAW’s money on the campaign (final numbers are not in yet, though). That comes out to $69 for each of the 3,536 votes the measure received.
- Since the $4 million reserve fund was built on the payments of residents, that money should be refunded to residents rather than being spent by the city on pet projects. The system has about 7,100 customers, according to the Leader. You could factor years of service into the equation, but an equal allocation would result in payments of about $560 to each family that has sewer service. That would be a nice chunk of change.
- The Show-Me Institute, a think tank focused on free markets and individual liberty that was founded by Rex Sinquefield, wrote a couple of articles in favor of the sale. The Institute generally favors privatization of government services. But they had this caveat: “Arnold residents must ensure that the money from the sale is spent or saved in a wise manner. They also must ensure that city officials hold the private company, Missouri American Water, responsible for providing safe and efficient services.” Pretty big ifs, especially that first one.
- Download the following chart and save it to your hard drive. Then, in a few years, we can look back on it and see if Arnold’s actual sewer rates are close to what MAW promised: about $30 per month in 2016 and $33.58 per month in 2020.