HELIX WATER CANCELS PENALTY ON HIGH WATER USERS, BUT STILL AIMS TO RAISE WATER RATES

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Two meetings set on rate hikes Sept. 30 and Oct. 7

East County News Service

September 29, 2015 (La Mesa) — Helix Water District’s Board has voted unanimously to rescind a 10 percent penalty assessed on its highest tier water users. The change comes after customers cut water use 28 percent, enabling the district to meet the 20 percent cuts mandated by the state. Board member Kathleen Hedberg asked for those penalized to receive rebates, but instead the funds will be used for water conservation outreach, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

But the district is moving forward on hefty water rate hikes for water users. The Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association (GMIA) opposes what it describes as a 70% rate hike over five years. The GMIA invites the public to a community forum on the rate hike on Wednesday, September 30th at 7 p.m. at Murdock Elementary School (4354 Conrad Drive in La Mesa).

The GMIA has crafted a sample letter for those opposed to submit public comment: http://www.gmia.net/docs/SampleLetterToTheHelixWaterDistrict.pdf

A recent California court case held that it is illegal for water districts to charge more than the actual delivery cost of water, making it questionable how Helix could predicts its water costs five years ahead of time.  

Ratepayers have already absorbed recent rate increases and fear that new rate hikes would cause economic hardship or result in loss of trees and orchards.

The Helix district will host an official public hearing at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 5 p.m. at the district headquarters (7811 University Avenue, La Mesa).


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