by Dennis Dalman
A repeal bill to do away with a state tiered water-pricing mandate was signed into law April 2 by Gov. Mark Dayton.
Rep. Tim O’Driscoll (R-Sartell) is one of the advocates of the bill and helped carry it to passage in the House of Representatives. The bill, before it was repealed Monday, would have required all cities with populations of more than 1,000 to implement a tiered system of water pricing so the heaviest users, such as schools and businesses, would pay more per unit than those who use less water, such as homeowners. That bill was scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2013. Proponents of that system claimed the tiered system would encourage water conservation. Opponents argued the system would be unfair and that there are many other ways to promote conservation.
Just a few months ago, the Sartell City Council declined to implement a tiered water-pricing system. Council members deferred a decision because they said it would be best to either wait until Jan. 1, 2013 or to wait and see if the Minnesota Legislature repeals that mandate. And that is exactly what happened April 2.
“With tight personal and family budgets, Minnesotans shouldn’t have to worry about the state mandating water-pricing increases,” O’Driscoll said after the governor signed the repeal. “This mandate would have had a negative effect on schools, hospitals, hotels, beverage bottlers and other water-dependent users in my district and statewide.”
Sartell City Council members have noted, in the past, that one way to promote water conservation, especially in a dry season, is to limit lawn watering based on odd-even days.