25 March, 2006

Underwriting The McMansions

No, please. Really. Allow me to subsidize your heating bill, folks. As Chris Wage and S-Town Mike have already noted, those of us who reside in Davidson Co. are paying the gas franchise fees for residents of Williamson, Cheatham and Sumner Counties.

6.11% of my gas bill is a franchise fee. That's government-ese for "tax." What's even better is that they've figured out a way via this program to tax those who are normally exempt.

Although the fee costs Metro residents more, it benefits city government, which receives the money. Metro Finance Director David Manning says the city is fine with the fee as is.

"We did not want to see them lower it, no," Manning said. "We would have to raise the revenue somewhere else."

That could mean higher property taxes, he said, adding that ratepayer money comes from a broader base. State government, for instance, doesn't pay property taxes in Metro, nor do churches. They do pay gas bills.

We intentionally bought a house within Davidson Co. because the price was less expensive. We were able to afford a good-sized, energy-efficient home for about 30% less than the same model cost in Williamson or Sumner Counties. While I'm (vaguely) sorry for those who paid through the nose for their home for the benefit of location,location,location I'm not thrilled at underwriting their gas bills. Especially since (from what I've seen) the homes outside Davidson County tend to run at least 20% larger. I'd love to see some sort of square-footage-by-county report to confirm what I've noticed on my rambling sunny-day drives and house hunts. So, by rights, those folks with the larger houses and the more money ought to be toting their own note as I see it.

My last gas bill was $190.00. A good chunk of that was the franchise fee tax.

What can you do? Well, you can help me and yourself and others by going to Nashville Gas Customer Service Feedback and entering the following message in the comment section:

I would like the portion of my gas bill that serves as a franchise fee to underwrite residents outside Davidson County to be removed. This fee was not presented during the voting process for approval and is therefore unauthorized. As such I demand a relief from this collection.

I doubt I'll see that money, but if enough voices are raised it'll at least create some sort of interest in the problem.


At 10:07 AM, March 27, 2006, Blogger Pink Kitty said...

Done and done.



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