I know first hand how our expensive housing market and higher-than-average utility rates disproportionately affect low-to-moderate income households. These households already have so little room in their budgets that the rate increases can cause real financial hardship. Therefore, I support a freeze on city utility rate increases.
From 2015 to 2021, the typical utility bill, based on the average use of 4000 gallons of water per month, has increased from about $77 per month to about $112 per month. That equates to a 45% increase in city utility rates since 2015, or an average of about 7.5% per year.
The City’s water and wastewater fund shows an 8.7% increase in charges for services from the 2021 revised budget to the 2022 revised budget. Charges for storm water show a 2.8% increase, and solid waste an 11% increase. These increases may help the City’s budget but are unsustainable for its residents.
MILTON support policies that increase community engagement including establishing community partner-based policing solutions, alternative response systems, and improving upon race relations and communications to remove the disconnect with racial and ethnic groups. In addition, I support efforts to strengthen the role of the Police Review Board by enacting more authority to review complaints and complements. Overall, the Police Departmental needs to develop better transparency that will ultimately build community trust. We are all in this together and we need to ensure that we hear from the Lawrence community at large including the rank and file police who interact the most with the citizens. In addition, I support measures of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 which prohibit federal, state, and local law enforcement from racial, religious and discriminatory profiling, mandates training on racial, religious, and discriminatory profiling for all law enforcement, and requires law enforcement to collect data on all investigatory activities. It establishes public safety innovation grants for community-based organizations to create local commissions and task forces to help communities to re-imagine and develop concrete, just and equitable public safety approaches. It will support critical community-based programs to change the culture of law enforcement and empower our communities to reimagine public safety in an equitable and just way.