Time for water district members to act

Crystal Hendrickson, Minot

Are you concerned about the rising cost of rural water? It’s time to do something about it.

Decisions at North Prairie Rural Water District are concentrated into a select few hands. Over the past few years, these individuals have used our money to build nothing less than a water empire. This has resulted in NPRWD users paying the highest rural water rates in ND. NPRWD doesn’t see a problem with what they are doing and seems content with consistently raising rates every year. The members are getting hosed. Respect and customer service isn’t a priority. Our board and management don’t realize how frustrated people are with them. NPRWD didn’t even bother to notify users of the last 2 rate increases. These rate hikes are being used to stockpile money for repairs that are decades in the future, rather than pay down today’s debt. Governments have a habit of putting money into a fund for one purpose, then squandering it in other ways. The money we’re paying today isn’t going to be there to fix water line breaks in 20 years.

Our problem is that we have a passive board. These are average people, with no particular qualifications, selected for positions of power based solely on their willingness to fall in line. When one board member resigns, a friend or neighbor is hand-picked to replace them. The current board members aren’t providing the financial oversight that members demand.

Here’s what members want to see going forward:

— Before taking out new debt and liabilities, the public should be notified of the upcoming decision. It is our right to know when we are going to be financially burdened with 40-50 years of debt payments.

— When budget or rate hike discussions take place, they should notify the public in advance.

— No more secret resignations. Vacant positions should be announced publicly.

— The Bylaws of our new district were never approved by the users after they were drafted in May 2020. This must be fixed.

There is a rising tide of members who recognize we need to regain control of our water district. We are coming together to demand better fiscal management.

Cast a ballot in the board election on Monday, April 3, at 52 Pines in Burlington, between 5 and 6 p.m. Bring your friends and neighbors too. (Each NPRWD curb stop gets one vote.) An outstanding turnout for this election will send a strong message to NPRWD. We are watching them now, and it’s time to make some adjustments!


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