Columbia uses the profits from its water and sewer system to pay for city needs such as the police department. The problem is that profits and losses can only be determined periodically; revenues and costs vary. So the required maintenance of the sewers is ignored to make sure the money is available for city services. That’s why the EPA had to order the city to take action to stop sewage from spilling into creeks and rivers.
Now the city wants to raise the water rates to cover the required sewer fix while also maintaining a set profit to pay the for public safety.
Of course, public safety should not be compromised. But the sewers should not be allowed to corrode when the money is there to fix them. The city should be using taxes to pay for public safety, instead of variable and unpredictable water bill profits. This is an irresponsible way to provide city services.