Mar 07, 2019

San Diego Sewer Rates Increase

The city council in Poway Calif., has approved increases in the city’s water and sewer rates

The city council in Poway, Calif., has approved increases in the city’s water and sewer rates
The city council in Poway, Calif., has approved increases in the city’s water and sewer rates.

In Poway, Calif., the City Council has unanimously approved small increases in the city’s water and sewer rates, although the typical residential customer will not see an increase in bimonthly bills.

According to The San Diego Union Tribune, the water commodity rate increases by 4.5% while fixed water meter charges increases by 7.5%. The sewer commodity rate increases by 3.35% and the sewer service charge climbs by 3.25%. The new rates go into effect March 1 and will be reflected on bills starting in May.

The temporary Drought Recovery Surcharge expired Dec. 30, meaning customers began receiving a 75-cent-per-unit break on their bills last month. According to The San Diego Union Tribune, a unit is 748 gal. Assuming a single-family household uses 25 units of water the bi-monthly bill has included an $18.75 surcharge.

According to The San Diego Union Tribune, assuming a single-family household uses 25 units of water every two months, its bill will reflect a net reduction of $7.74, Director of Finance Donna Goldsmith said.

Council members said they do not like raising rates but the commodity water hike reflects pass-through increases from the San Diego County Water Authority and the city needs money to maintain its water and sewer distribution systems.

Notices of Tuesday’s hearing were mailed to all ratepayers in January, according to the tribune. Under state law, written protests were accepted until Tuesday night. City Clerk Faviola Medina reported receiving 473 protests, far less than the required simple majority of the city’s 14,183 ratepayers.

Five members of the public spoke at the hearing, according to The San Diego Union Tribune. While none objected to the proposed increases, they questioned the approval process, asked for uniform rates, called for a more efficient system operations and questioned why millions of dollars loaned to the old redevelopment agency from the city’s water fund were never reimbursed.

According to The San Diego Union Tribune, City Manager Tina White said that once the state discontinued local redevelopment programs in 2012, it denied repeated requests by the city to have the loaned money returned to the water fund.

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