Friday, April 18, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

City water rates to rise 9% Feb. 16: First new bill to arrive May 10, 2013

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From page A1 | November 16, 2012 | 14 Comments

New city water rates will go into effect in Feb. 16, 2013, and will show up on the May bills. At Tuesday’s Placerville City Council meeting, a 9 percent rate hike was unanimously approved  to help offset the increased cost of water provided by El Dorado Irrigation District.

Current bimonthly single-family residential rates will rise from a base rate of $24.38 to $26.57, while single-family residential on Lifeline will go from $18.29 bimonthly to $19.94. Rates per cubic foot are tiered and the increase depends on the consumption of water. The current bimonthly water charge for a single-family residence with median consumption is $75.26. The new rate at the same consumption level would add $6.73 every two months making the bill $81.99

“These are almost the identical rates that were supposed to become effective in October 2009,” said Finance Director Dave Warren.

New water rates were adopted in 2009 by the City Council, with the first increase effective Oct. 16, 2009, and subsequent increases were scheduled for June 2010, June 2011 and June 2012. Public opinion and the effects of the economy caused the suspension of the 13.5 percent rate increase scheduled for June 2010 and subsequent increases. New alternative rate tiers were adopted by City Council in May 2010.

Operating costs have steadily risen since 2010, including a recent increase of  the water rates the city pays to El Dorado Irrigation District. The multi-year increase became effective July 2012 and includes rate increases each year through 2015.The estimated cost of EID’s rate increase for 2012-2013 is $95,793 and cost for 2013-2014 is estimated at an increase of $141,941.

In an effort to off-set the increased operating costs the city froze unfilled employee positions, continued the 10 percent employee pay cut, reduced contingency fund levels, and deferred some water line replacement projects in addition to cutting capital improvement and operating expenditures.

City staff recommended a 9 percent increase in water rates, effective Feb. 16, 2013, to help offset the increased cost of purchasing water from EID. The increase would generate approximately $56,647 in fiscal year 2012-2013 and $153,178 in 2013-2014 in additional revenue.

“If not for Measure H, the proposed increase would be even higher,”said Warren.

Measure H funds, which come from a quarter percentage sales tax increase, have been used to offset water and sewer bills by 10 percent, allot $425,000 for the Pardi Way-Big Cut Road line replacement and $208,000 for other water line replacement projects, said Warren.

“We have discussed the proposed rate increase with the Measure H committee and we agreed that the rates would have to go up, but we wanted to do it incrementally, not in one big swoop that would be painful for ratepayers.”

“We met with EID for about six months and discussed the impact of the rate increase with them,” said Councilman Carl Hagen. “Some people in El Dorado Hills and Cameron Park think we should be paying the same wholesale water rates they do, but we read our own meters and do our own maintenance. EID just provides the water, so that’s why our rates are less.”

Sue Rodman, member of the Measure H committee, said, “We are trying to repair and replace pipes that are in bad shape, so the city rate increase will help.”

“Originally, EID wanted a much higher rate increase, but the city was able to negotiate a lower one,” said Mayor Mark Acuna. “We have an aging water system and we must remain diligent in repairing it.”

“We’re learning from our mistakes in the past,” said Vice Mayor Wendy Mattson. “I’m grateful that we are keeping up with our capital improvement projects.”

The city is also authorized to adjust the rates annually according to the annual change in the California Consumer Price Index. City ratepayers will receive notification of the rate increase in January and March water bills. The increase will show up on the May 10 utility bill.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or wschultz@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 14 comments

  • Phil VeerkampNovember 15, 2012 - 11:40 am

    City rate payers might want to pay attention to who pays for the water treatment and distribution infrastructure what will be required for - LINK - Parker unveils plans Marble Valley, Serrano Westside, Pedregal and Lime Rock projects incuded - Now is the time to influence who pays - EID? DEVELOPERS?

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 15, 2012 - 11:43 am

    oops! - should have read, " . . . water treatment and distribution infrastructure that will be required for . . . "

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 15, 2012 - 11:48 am

    LINK - Gallo plan coordindates with Parker

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 15, 2012 - 11:54 am

    LINK - Gallo plan coordindates with Parker

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 15, 2012 - 11:57 am

    LINK - Marble Valley features vineyards

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  • Greg PradaNovember 15, 2012 - 12:51 pm

    The City of Placerville pays EID the equivalent of just $130 per city residential water customer annually for EID fully-treated water...less than $22 bi-monthly. So Placerville water ratepayers should grill the City as to why the $75.26 they already pay bi-monthly...PLUS that 10% sales-tax subsidy...combined already is nearly FOUR times what the City pays EID. The City's mark-up in rates is far more than costs for meter reading and maintenance that Councilman Hagan attempts to use as justification for four-fold rate differences. Of huge materiality, City officials clandestinely negotiated a cost of service principle-violating 100% crediting of property tax revenues from EID Directors Bill George and George Osborne...a bad deal for EID ratepayers who are left to pay 100% of non-recovered costs for Project 184 (which Placerville relies on heavily for its water), Sly Park recreation, and subsidies for 94% discounted Agriculture water rates. Yet even with the illicit extra property tax credits from EID, City officials take that several hundred thousand dollars of extra money...plus the 10% sales tax subsidy...and still further plunder the City's 2,800 water ratepayers with rates nearly FOUR times the cost of the treated water itself. For different reasons, it's a bad deal for both City and EID water ratepayers.

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  • Phil VeerkampNovember 15, 2012 - 1:07 pm

    Greg, you continue to explain the past. Do you have a strategy for getting IN FRONT? Do you have any intention of shifting future infrastructure costs onto the developers REQUIRING NEW INFRASTRUCTURE?

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2012 - 1:21 pm

    Greg: The City's two business (profit?) centers are the Water Enterprise Fund and the Sewer Enterprise Fund. If your figures closely approximate reality, then I'm wondering how the City justifies the discrepancy between what it pays EID and its residential charges. Which, by the way, are outrageous. If any local consumer believes otherwise, RAISE YOUR HAND!!! And, another "by the way", you have answered an question that was raised at Tuesday's City Council meeting. Thank you.

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2012 - 1:25 pm

    P.S. My bi-monthly bill has more than doubled over the past few years. And that's certainly not the end of the escalating costs. AND, my water consumption has fallen dramatically. Apologies to my fabulous neighbors for my ugly summertime lawn. I refuse to water it!!!

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2012 - 1:28 pm

    P.P.S.S. Can anyone spell e-x-t-o-r-t-i-o-n??? (Placerville water)

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  • EvelynNovember 15, 2012 - 3:02 pm

    Regarding the Water Enterprise Fund & the Sewer Enterprise Fund as (?) profit centers: From the City of Placerville's last two audited financial statements: JUNE 30, 2011 (pg.3) "Program revenues from business-type activities increased by $0.82M or 13.370%." (pg.4) "The business-type activities of the City include the two municipal utilities: water acquisition and delivery and wastewater collection and treatment." June 30, 2010 (pg.3) "Program revenues from business-type activities increased by $1.65M or 36.60%."

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  • PissedNovember 16, 2012 - 2:29 am

    Really? This kind of crap just happens? People......WAKE UP! Unbelievable nonsense. What a crappy, disgusting, place this city has turned in to. I just moved back here a year ago after being gone for 32 years. Bought a house here in the city limits. I hope the housing market rebounds so i can sell and get the hell out of this dump of a town, and move back.! I'm throwing up....you don't even have a clue. Most of you bend over and take it..disgusting! What a let down..

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  • cheatedNovember 16, 2012 - 5:36 am

    EID's financial report says the City paid EID $299,600 for water last year. Since the City has 2,800 water customers, the cost paid to EID was $107 per City customer. So why am I paying $450 per year for my $107 of EID water?

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  • Monetary Mondays: Pricing of US Water Could Change! | Dabble With..April 06, 2013 - 6:25 pm

    [...] El Dorado, Ca. [...]

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