Davina Jelich is trying to rally the Linda community to fight a proposed water rate increase.
The Linda County Water District is proposing doubling its water rates for more than 4,575 residential and commercial accounts that serve about 18,000 people. If adopted, the increase would be effective Nov. 1.
“A small group of us stood outside Walmart twice, reaching out to people and getting them to sign petitions,” she said. “I have about 75 signatures but we have other people who created similar petitions and we will present those to the district.”
Brian Davis, district manager with the Linda County Water District, sent out a letter to customers alerting them to the proposed rate increase.
“We haven’t raised the rate in 13 years,” Davis said. “Even at the new rate, we’re lower than the state average based on the affluence of the area.”
He said the state puts out guidelines on where the rates should be for water.
“In 2008, we built a wastewater treatment plant – this is not a wastewater treatment rate hike,” he said. “When people get the bill it’s combined and we felt like we didn’t want to add rate hikes to the water side.”
He said the district can’t mix funds between the water and wastewater parts of the operation – waste water rates aren’t going up.
“I don’t disagree with a small increase and little increases over time but all of a sudden we get penalized with a doubling of the fees,” Jelich said.
Davis said a new well is needed in the district to stay compliant with state regulations, among other expenses.
Jelich is encouraging the community to attend a Monday meeting at the district office.
“As many people that can get to the meeting, that would be great,” she said. “Numbers speak volumes and we want to let them know that we’re not OK with this.”
The district’s letter outlined three key reasons for the increase:
– Funding the installation of Well 17, complete system rehabilitation and replacement projects of water system facilities to ensure regulatory compliance and continuous service to customers.
– Address increasing labor costs related to employee certifications and the addition of one new certified operator position.
– Increased operating costs related to power and chemical costs and legislative mandates.
The District’s water system operations are funded mainly through water rates and service charges, according to the letter sent to property owners.
Monthly water service charges are used to fund utility costs, including labor, energy, chemicals, regulatory compliance, system maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement of infrastructure, and capital improvements.
By law, water rates must be calculated based on the cost to provide service.
Public comments and written protests will be accepted at a public hearing scheduled for Aug.12.
Written protests may be sent to the district prior to the public hearing to the attention of the “District General Manager” at the address below and must include the property address and the Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN).
KNOW & GO
WHAT: Linda County Water District public hearing on proposed water rate increase
WHEN: Monday, August 12 at 7 p.m..
WHERE: 1280 Scales Ave., Marysville.