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COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ‘THE JOHN A. WILSON BUILDING 1350 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW WASHINGTON, D.C. 20004, David Grosso Committee Member Councilmember At-Large Health Chairperson, Committee on Education Human Services Judiciary and Public Safety November 28, 2018 D.C. Water & Sewer Authority Retail Rates Committee ATTN: Rachna Butani, Chairperson 5000 Overlook Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20032 RE: CRIAC Relief Program for Nonprofits To Whom It May Concern: As the Board deliberates implementation of the CRIAC Relief Program, | write today with a concern that was recently brought to my attention. Pursuant to a presentation provided to the Committee on Retail Rates on October 23, 2038, it appears DOEE intends to treat similarly situated nonprofit entities in a disparate manner. Specifically, to qualify for the CRIAC Relief Program, nonprofits must demonstrate a hardship in paying the clean rivers impervious area charge. DOEE has created three categories for CRIAC ratepayers: Religious, Charitable, and Cemetery. On its face this distinction makes some sense; however, the benefit afforded to these nonprofits is significantly different. Charitable organizations must demonstrate through tax forms that the CRIAC is at least 5 percent of their revenue after expenses as compared to the mere 0.75 percent that religious and cemetery organizations can self-certify. This reading allows for religious and cemetery organizations to receive far greater relief than other nonprofits. For this reason, | strongly urge either the removal of this provision, or establishing an equal expense threshold for all three categories. Otherwise, | fear that D.C. Water and the District of Columbia will be exposed to litigation based on the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The Supreme Court has ruled that a “central lesson of our decisions is that a significant factor upholding governmental programs in the face of the Establishment Clause is their neutrality toward religion...We have held that the guarantee of neutrality is respected, not offended, when the government, following neutral criteria and evenhanded policies, extends benefits to recipients whose ideologies and viewpoints, including religious ones, are broad and diverse.”* On its face, the criteria proposed does not appear to be neutral or evenhanded when balancing religious and non-religious institutions’ access to government relief programs. Sincerely, David Grosso (I-At-Large) Council of the District of Columbia Chairperson, Committee on Education cc: Mary Cheh, Chairperson, Committee on Transportation and the Environment Tommy Wells, Chairman, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority Board Ellen Boardman, Principal Member, District of Columbia David Franco, Principal Member, District of Columbia Emile Thompson, Principal Member, District of Columbia Krystal Brumfield, Alternate Board Member, District of Columbia Reverend Dr. Kendrick Curry, Alternate Board Member, District of Columbia Ivan Frishberg, Alternate Board Member, District of Columbia Anthony Giancola, Alternate Board Member, District of Columbia Howard Gibbs, Alternate Board Member, District of Columbia Jed Ross, Alternate Board Member, District of Columbia * Rosenberger v. Rector and Visitors of Univ. of Va., 515 U.S. 819 (1995)