This week a former city commissioner signed on the dotted line to speak during the public comment section of the city meeting. On his mind is a fee — one that we are all paying.

That fee is a surcharge to fund an upgrade of the city wastewater treatment plant. It's hefty, of this there is no argument. What was argued was how the commission may, or may have not, broken a promise. 

When the final expenses were in, the commission had a decision to make. That decision was whether to reduce the monthly fee, or to leave it alone and pay the loan off about 10 years early. The promise made was that the fee would be revisited, and possibly adjusted when the final expenses were known. 

But then the math came into play, and the fee was left at the current rate. A significant portion of the populace did not see the commission "giving back" to them, despite what the math said. 

The editor of this paper did the math, based on his family of five's monthly bills. Had the commission adjusted the fee downward, his family would have saved about $3 per month for his address. Over the life of the 20-year loan, that would represent a savings of $720. And that is not chicken feed, folks. That's good money. 

But compared to how much that same family will save by jettisoning the fee with the early payoff of the loan, it is chicken feed. Over the course of 10 years, that family will save $4,800. Of course, the city must keep the promise of getting rid of the fee after the payment of the loan for that to happen. 

The choice for the commission was to save consumers a few bucks now, or much more later. They chose the latter, and despite the browbeating they took this week, it was the right decision — hands down. Whether you agree or not, the commission upheld a promise — to save you as much residents as possible when it comes to paying for the federally mandated plant updates.

— Kansan editorial board