mountainecho.com

August 20, 2012

Editorial

Filed under: Uncategorized — waltblog @ 4:26 pm

The Fall River Valley Community Services District held rate meetings for public input, the last of which was Wednesday evening.
Personally, I have no problem with the rate increase for water. Yes, some people will have problems paying the increase, but people have to realize that the Community Services District’s bills and costs have gone up just like it has for people they serve. If people want water and sewage service the district has got to be able to provide it.
Many of the customers will see lower bills for the first year. Then it will go up over the next two years in an overall amount that will cost them 20% more than they are currently paying.
I do find it rather hard to swallow a rate increase when the district does things like pay a bill to an attorney in the amount of $1,886.50 so they can argue with LAFCO. Especially when they said they weren’t going to take money out of the district’s funds for his expense.
Be that as it may, I do have major objections to the way they plan to compute the sewer charge.
If my understanding is correct, and I believe it is, the sewage charge that customers are going to be charged will be based on the amount of water used, computed monthly.
That means that customers will find themselves paying a lot more for sewer in the summer months when they traditionally water their lawns, flowers and gardens (not their sewers). They won’t be using the sewer any more, they’ll just pay a lot more for the privilege.
Districts like Burney which also compute sewer charges based on water usage have taken the time to figure out a way to do it which won’t screw their customers.
Districts like Burney looked at it, discussed it at length and determined which month of the year was the one which reflected the least outdoor water usage, thus eliminating charging their customers for a service they weren’t providing.
Burney’s is computed on either January or February, when they can be fairly certain that their customers aren’t watering yards and washing cars, but being charged strictly for cooking, bathing, washing dishes etc. That figure is the best estimate they can generate that will reflect what goes into the sewer. They measure it once each year and adjust it accordingly.
To charge them monthly for watering their yard and plants is double jeopardy. The customer gets charged for the water on the front end and then gets hammered on the back end when it doesn’t impact the sewers.
I don’t care if the process has to go back to committee or through the hearing process 10 times. Simp[y because it wasn’t right the first time doesn’t mean the customers should be stuck with it. That was the general idea of having public hearings in the first place.

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