An old adage advises us, “Honesty is the best policy.”
The city of Santa Barbara disagrees with that advice, apparently believing, “Dishonesty is an even better policy.”
If you doubt that, just take a look at the back side of your statement from the city about your charges for water, sewer and trash services.
There you will notice that the usage part of your sewer charge is for a certain number of hundred cubic feet (HCF) of sewage. This is so even though there is no meter that measures the volume of sewage entering the sewer from your property. The volume used by the city in its billing is the total — summed over all tiers — of the amounts that passed through the water meter.
The implied assumption is that none of the water you buy from the city is used to irrigate your landscaping, which, of course, need not be the case.
We realize that the city must have revenue in order to provide its services, but must it bill its customers in such a deceptive way?
Imagine how infuriated a customer — one who has an automatic sprinkling system for his lawn — would be to come home after spending a trying month in Nebraska visiting his in-laws only to discover that he has been charged a sewer usage fee.