The Lookout Letter to the editor
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Protest Water Rate Increases or They'll Continue Going Up

January 21, 2020

Dear Editor,

The City is proposing water and wastewater water (sewer) rates increases. It is complicated for many to understand.

While it seems laudable that we achieve water sustainability by digging more wells so we use less water that is now obtained from the MWD (Metropolitan water district) and costs more, the City’s goals note this should be accomplished by 2023 with these proposed increases.

In 2015 when the last drought was affecting all of California, the city proposed raising water rates with this same goal of being free of importing MDW water by 2020.

Yet, we have not decreased the the amount we get in that period but rather increased it! In 2015/2016 the city purchased 24 percent of our water from MWD. In 2017/2018 the city purchased 35 percent of our water from MWD.

No recent amounts are noted in the report the city used to determine the increases proposed.

The proposed water rate increase is 20 percent in year 1, 18 percent in year 2 and 14 percent per year after that. Cumulatively it is 91 percent.

The proposed wastewater water rates increase 10 percent for the first 4 years then 3 percent for the last year for a cumulative increase of 48 percent.

However, that is not all that will increase. Two new fixed-rate charges will be added -- a fixed water rate charge and a fixed wastewater service charge.

These charges will also go up with the proposed percentage raise of each service.

Then these increased charges will be totaled and subjected to a 10 percent UUT or utility user tax.

Tier levels will be lowered for amounts of water consumed to encourage use of only 55 gallons per person per day.

Presently my husband and I achieve this goal. We have diligently conserved water since the drought in late 80s.

However when I compared a current bill and did the math, my bill will go up over $30 or more than 100 percent on these two services in the first year. It will be up or $70 or 226 percent in 5 years.

Protests can be made by a property owner or customer on record. Condo owners in a master metered building should use their address and APN number.

There are two forms, one for each service. These forms must be mailed to the city’s clerk office by Tuesday Jan 28 or delivered in person that day by the time the public hearing occurs that night at City Council.

It must include service address or addresses of the property. An APN or assessors parcel number can also be used. The name of owner or customer must be printed and a signature and date as well.

These forms are available online by clicking here to protest proposed water service rates and here to propose wastewater rates.

If the City truly wishes to be sustainable, it must stop accepting new development proposals.

It seems to me with the massive developments now being built and the future proposals of over 9,000 housing units in the next eight years, we will still be importing water from MWD and paying a lot more on our bills.

Linda Lancaster

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