An Open Letter to the City of Philadelphia

Dear City of Philadelphia,

We have a problem with our Water Department.

The problem is that our Water Department doesn’t have a customer service focus.  And customer service is critical to Philadelphia. When city service levels fail, people leave the city.

If you look on Google, you’ll see that the Water Department has a star rating of 1.7 out of 5. And before you blow that number off, Boston has a star rating of 4.4.

If you go to the Water Department’s financial statements and search the term “customer service”, you won’t see the term used once.

What you will see is a cash balance of nearly $200M in cash reserves and a statement of net position that’s increased by 14% in just two years.

What this Water Department really needs is not more cash, it needs a better attitude toward its customers. From the top down.

I’ve experienced poor customer service first-hand. At virtually every layer in the Water Department. And although this is very frustrating for me, I know it’s a bigger issue for the city.

Our street is sinking. Our street regularly has collapses, we’ve had multiple trash trucks break through the street. The curbs are artificially high…it’s extremely unlikely an ambulance can get down our street during an emergency. There are other issues, but I think you get the idea.

The Water Department has pointed the finger back at its citizens for our sinking street, siting homeowner lateral issues as the cause. 12 laterals in total over the last few years. That’s nearly 40% of the homes on our block.

Somehow 40% of the laterals on our block all broke around the same time.

A history of our street issues are below. We hope to find compromise with the Water Department, but we are not optimistic.

This site will be devoted to telling the story of The Nightmare on Monroe Street, in the hopes that it will help City leaders recognize that enough is enough when it comes to poor City services.

We can do better and we should.

Dave Becker
100 Block of Monroe Street