This tirade comes compliments of Judy Kopcha, an Akron resident, taxpayer and reluctant water/sewer/trash customer.
“I just received my Akron utility bill for the month,” she wrote. “I did not know I could get parenting instructions, employment opportunities and the rabies vaccine through the Akron water department, but I can!
“Inside my already-way-too-high-priced water/sewage and trash bill, I find these three postcards [attached]. They are not printed on regular paper but card stock, in color.
“How much does this cost me?
“These three areas of advice seem so out of the realm of the water department, but maybe they have on staff a child psychologist, a headhunter and a vet.
“Is that why my bills are so expensive?”
Nice rant, Judy. But hold your fire.
Yes, your water bills are high — and soon will grow much higher, thanks to the city’s battle with the EPA. But the cards in your envelope are not the reason why.
The inserts don’t cost you a dime. In fact, they actually generate money.
Utility bill inserts are just like advertising inserts in your newspaper: Groups pay to ride along with your bill so they can gain access to a large number of households — in the case of the city, 90,000 of them.
According to the city’s official Utilities Business Office Insert Policy (yes, there really is a Utilities Business Office Insert Policy), groups are charged “a minimum of $500 for a full month’s cycle of inserts.”
City spokeswoman Stephanie York says the ride-along literature brought in $2,500 last year, and bills are going out for five more 2012 inserts.
Not just anybody can hitch a ride. The material “must contain public service-type information” and “cannot be of a political nature.”
April’s sponsors were two public agencies and a nonprofit: Summit County Children Services, the Summit County Health District and Mature Services Inc.
The city can add as many as three inserts per month without incurring an additional mailing charge.
Playing a hunch
Someone in our network of hardworking correspondents eyed a recent Copley police report and summarized it this way:
“A man, 46, was charged with driving under the influence April 14. A police officer conducted a traffic stop after noticing two of the tires on his vehicle had blown out and his car was on fire.”
What an observant officer! Hope he’s in line for a promotion.
Road to ruin
In other police news from hotbeds of crime ... a 26-year-old Wadsworth man was charged with theft. He allegedly ripped off a “Wet Floor” sign from the McDonald’s on High Street.
Experts say stealing a “Wet Floor” sign is a gateway crime that eventually builds up to stealing signs that say “Missing Floor.”
The Akron Bar Association has issued a 480-word news release about something it feels extremely passionate about.
In the first paragraph, we learn that local lawyers want “the Ohio Senate to remove from the proposed budget bill a proposal to add an additional juvenile court judge in Summit County, and to refer that matter to the Ohio Supreme Court.”
Why? Because “it appears [the written criteria for adding a judge] have not been followed.”
But in the last paragraph, we are told, “The Bar Association is expressly not taking a position at this time, one way or the other ...”
A colleague found a most excellent spam in his in-box and would like to share it:
“You have drawn my attention to a site of acquaintances. I hope, as I shall like you. How I to you in a photo? The truth - pretty? :) But in a life I more nice!!!
“And as I cheerful, kind, sociable and fluffy! I like to go in for sports, read books, to listen to music. I love winter and summer. I do not love spring and slush.
“If I have interested you, with pleasure I shall tell about myself more in the following letter.
“I wait for the answer.”
Could be a long wait.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.