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Opinion

Tier system impacts protected groups


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Nov. 13, 2020 - 3:54 PM

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This never-ending lecture about systemic racism from self-proclaimed intellectuals in our community has to stop.

After reading the NTH article about the proposed water and sewer rate increase by the Coweta County Water Authority and seeing no protesters or demonstrations, it’s apparent that either: they don’t understand the subject, or the subject is over their intelligent quotient, or it’s just talking points to make themselves feel better at the country club.

Systemic Racism comes from a labor law practice titled “disparate impact.” Disparate impact is often referred to as unintentional discrimination. Disparate impact occurs when policies, practices, rules or other systems that appear to be neutral result in a disproportionate impact upon a protected group.

The Coweta County Water Authority detailed the plan to both raise water prices and change the tier system of prices. The tier system is meant to encourage conversation. The tier system means the more gallons a customer uses, the higher price charged. Now if you live in a single family house and your family is 2 adults and 1 child you are more than likely paying at the lowest rate.

But what happens if the same family lives in an apartment. They likely use the same amount of water, but they pay vastly different rates. The difference is that apartment complexes in Georgia are required to have only one water meter for all the units.

With only one meter the complex is considered a tier 3 user thereby having to pay a rate of water 3 times the rate that is charged to the single family home. That cost is passed onto the tenant in the rent. So how is that discrimination?

A large portion of the minorities (protected groups) in Coweta live in apartments, but they have to pay water prices three times higher than homeowners (which typically are not minorities).

Despite the tier system being a well-intended conversation policy, it should be considered discrimination (systemic racism or disparate impact), for it causes a disproportionate impact upon a protected group.

Walter Krauth

Newnan