Sentinel staff report–
The Citrus Heights Water District will hold a public hearing on Dec. 5 regarding another proposed water rate and service fee increase, which the district has raised each year since 2012.
In a legally required Proposition 218 mailer about the proposed rate increase, the water district said increases in both service fees and water consumption rates are necessary to avoid debt and provide for replacement of aging water mains and meters, as well as expand the district’s groundwater well systems. Hilary Straus, the water district’s general manager, also told residents at a neighborhood meeting last month that the rate increase is needed to compensate for rising wholesale water costs from the San Juan Water District, which are projected to rise by 9 percent next year, another 9 percent in 2020.
Bi-monthly, fixed service charge fees for 2019 are proposed to rise about $4 for a typical 1-inch residential meter, with water usage charges rising about four cents to $1.06 per unit. That would bring fixed charges up to $78.18, with additional charges based on actual water use.
In 2015, residents with a typical 1-inch meter paid $56.13 in fixed service fees and 77 cents per unit of water.
About a dozen protest letters had been received by the time the district posted its Dec. 5 meeting agenda online, with letters largely expressing frustration at the district’s increase in water rates each year. As in prior years, complaints also cited rising fixed service charges and the hardships that rising costs pose to those on fixed incomes.
The district says on its website that current state law does not allow it to offer a low-income rate program.
The water district’s upcoming public hearing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 5 in the Rusch Park Community Center, located at 7801 Auburn Blvd. If approved, the increase will affect about two-thirds of Citrus Heights residents, as some Citrus Heights residents are served by neighboring water districts and will not face the proposed rate increase.
Public Hearing Info:
Date: Dec. 5, 2018
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Rusch Park Community Center
7801 Auburn Blvd., Citrus Heights