By Alan King
Imagine with me for a moment that you and your neighbors live above a great pool of natural gas. The people in the town over the hill want to pump your gas to the townsfolk so they can stay cozy in the winter. You’re a good neighbor and say, “Fine.” After all, there’s plenty of gas. Why not share the wealth? Now imagine that your country cousins living near the town want to get some of that gas for themselves. The pipeline is right there and all it takes is a hookup. Of course, they should pay for it, just like the townsfolk do. After all, it does cost something to put in the pipes and pump it up the hill.
Without belaboring this story, let me say that this is just the scenario that we now have in Xenia Township. Except that we’re talking about water. The water that flows from the taps in all of Xenia’s neighborhoods comes from a well field in Xenia Township near Oldtown. Two or three million gallons every day.
And Xenia bumps up their water rates 50% for all of that Xenia Township water sold in Xenia Township. In Amlin Heights and Murray Hill. On Wilson Drive, Purcell Drive, and Fairground Road. On Robert Lane and Richard Drive. These families live right next to city residents that are paying just $360 annually for water. Township residents pay $530. In Wilberforce, it’s even worse. The water gets sold to Greene County and then resold to them at a markup. The average Wilberforce family pays more like $720 a year for their water. Double.
Sewer rates are the same for everyone. And fuel oil, electricity and gas. Cable TV and phones. Gasoline. Not Xenia water, though.
This does not seem fair. If we charged Xenia a fraction of a penny a gallon for depleting our natural resources, we’d make millions. And Xenia pumps extra Township water every day that goes to Cedarville and Shawnee Lake. Do we share in any of that money? Not so much. The Xenia City Council has a right to be proud of their efforts to keep water rates low for its citizens, but I think that it is time that Xenia Township folks got a fair shake as well. And now we have some leverage that we can use to get this fixed.
Xenia is asking the Township for extensive restrictions on a large area of land around the Oldtown well fields in order to make them safer for future generations of water consumers. I applaud this foresight and think that the Township should cooperate in making this happen. Before we do what they want, though, I would just like to have a little conversation with the City about fairness. How about city people paying a bit more for their water and township people paying the same?
After all, the water and the air should belong to all of us and it should be up to all of us to protect them and use them wisely. And nobody should make rip-off profits from their neighbors just because they can. We’re not that kind of people around here.
Alan King For Xenia Township Trustee