Santa Monica Lookout
|Residents Get Final Chance to Protest Santa Monica’s Proposed Water Rate Hikes|
By Hector Gonzalez
If approved, proposed water rates for some 22,000 customers could jump by 9 percent in the first year, followed by a 13 percent increases for the next four years, City officials said.
Although the Council approved the rate hikes in concept at its meeting on December 16, “it’s not a done deal,” Borboa said.
Residents and property owners can still submit a written protest against the increases, he said. Letters must include the person’s name and address and must specifically state that the writer is opposed to the proposed increases.
This week, a flyer posted at Santa Monica High School asked parents to complete an opposition form and send it to City Hall before February 24, when the City Council will vote on a resolution adopting the rate hikes as law.
“State law requires that public notification be given at least 45 days before the public hearing, at which time the Council will take final action to approve the rates,” Borboa said.
As a result, water sales are expected to decline. That revenue drop will “adversely effect” the City’s Water Fund, which pays for the distribution system, according to a City notice outlining the hikes.
“The proposed increases will improve the financial position of the City’s Water Fund” and “reduce the risk of revenue shortfalls from projected reduced water sales,” the notice said.
If adopted, the rate hikes would go into effect March 1.
Even with increased water rates, residents could still reduce their bills overall by meeting the City’s 20 percent reduction goal, he added.
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