East County News Service
August 1, 2016 (La Mesa) — Helix Water District’s Board will vote Wednesday on a hefty proposed rate increase to offset revenue losses due, ironically, to residents conserving water as they were asked to do. Two proposals would raise rates for the average water customer by 8.3% or 10.1%. View board package here and see a table of proposed rate hikes at the bottom of this story.
The meeting will be held on Wednesday, August 3 at 2 p.m. at the Helix Water District board room, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. The item is number 8 on the agenda.
Back on May 11 at a Water Rate Workshop, the board told staff to assume customers would conserve water 15% compared to 2013. The board asked staff to provide an update later this summer on actual changes in customer water use during the hotter, drier months, along with recommendations on any adjustments needed.
Yet staff has brought back two proposals for final approval by the board, with no public hearing. In the past, proposed rate hikes have been contentious, drawing widespread and virtually unanimous opposition from the public.
Staffed looked at two proposals.
One assumes that future customer water use will be 15% less than in 2013, as the board suggested at its May 11 workshop. Under this proposal, rates would rise 8.3 percent or a $9.84 increase for the average water ratepayer’s bill.
The other proposal assumes water use will be 20% less than 2013 levels. This proposal would result in a 10.1 percent increase, or $11.91 on the average water bill. of $117.93.
For top tier water users, the increase could be much more money.
Staff has recommended the board approved the second proposal for a 10.1% increase in water rates – a proposal bound to draw concerns from ratepayers who have already absorbed painfully high rate hikes in recent years.