A split Fresno City Council voted 4-3 Thursday to reject a proposal to start the process for utility rate increases, citing bad timing and concern about public outreach. The agenda item from the Department of Public Utilities required a vote to start the Proposition 218 process, also known as the “Right to Vote on Taxes” Act, that would solicit feedback from the public on water, sewer and waste rate increases.
If water were priced according to demand, many Westerners would be smelly and thirsty. But water is a necessity, and demand-based pricing would be unethical. … In California, for example, state law Proposition 218 outlaws water prices that are higher than the cost of providing water.
Local agencies that provide water service may impose fees to recover the costs of providing water services. Unlike taxes, which require voter approval prior to adoption, water fees are approved by a local agency’s legislative body. However, under Article XIII D, section 6 of the California Constitution (commonly referred to as Proposition 218), such fees must first overcome majority protest proceedings, where a majority of property owners or customers of record may defeat such fees by filing written protests.
Ross Valley’s controversial flood fee was hiked 3 percent Tuesday, helping pay for a public relations campaign smoothing the waters for projects that will turn key park areas into flood retention basins.
The Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday will hear a plan to increase sharply water rates and create a drought-recovery fee for funding infrastructure projects, stabilizing revenue and boosting reserves.
The state Water Resources Control Board released a survey this week that revealed that Californians actually have increased their water use amid the worst drought in decades — despite a spirited public-relations campaign about saving water.
A Superior Court judge has ordered the Castaic Lake Water Agency, Santa Clarita Valley’s water retailer, to rescind an illegal “special tax” imposed on Santa Clarita Valley water retailers, who passed that rate on to customers.
From the San Francisco Chronicle, in C.W. Nevius’ column:
Gleneagles, the quirky, challenging, everyman’s golf course in one of San Francisco’s roughest neighborhoods, is having trouble making ends meet. … However, the latest blow, a major increase in water rates, has course operator Tom Hsieh wondering if the effort is worth it.
In April, the city [Detroit] set a target of cutting service to 3,000 customers a week who were more than $150 behind on their bills. In May, the water department sent out 46,000 warnings and cut off service to 4,531.
The East Bay’s largest water supplier failed to give the public an adequate explanation of a 9.75 percent water increase, the first of two big increases in consecutive years, Alameda County’s civil grand jury has concluded.