Thousands of Calaveras County Water District customers won’t pay more for water and wastewater services this fall with the Board of Directors’ decision Wednesday to cancel a rate increase planned for September. The increase would have raised monthly water rates by $5.11 and wastewater by $3.84.
“I’m pleased we were able to move forward with the critical projects in our Capital Improvement Program without raising rates,” said Dave Eggerton, CCWD general manager. “We were able to prevent an increase of $8.95 per month for customers who have both water and wastewater service.”
The rate increase would have been the third since 2013. It was initially scheduled for September 2015 as part of a five-year rate plan, but the sitting Board postponed it for one year before eliminating it Wednesday. All revenues generated by the increases are reserved to fund Capital Renovation and Replacement (Capital R&R) projects that address infrastructure needs throughout the District. Despite the elimination of this year’s increase, staff assured the Board there will be adequate funding to complete the most critical Capital R&R projects. This is due in large part to unanticipated delays in several major projects that allowed reserves to build, along with a very successful grant program that works in conjunction with R&R rate revenues. That said, with the elimination of the rate increase this fall, it may be challenging to fund unanticipated emergency projects if and when they arise, such as those experienced in the past year due to the drought and Butte Fire.
CCWD Board Vice President Jeff Davidson, who made the motion to eliminate the rate increase, said he was pleased with the Board’s decision.
“Through diligent staff work and grant funding, we feel we can get by with only the first two rate increases,” he said. “This is remarkable in light of the fact that CCWD has endured the housing collapse and water sales are down by more than half a million dollars, due to State-mandated water conservation. Even with those financial challenges, we have not imposed a drought surcharge, which speaks to the fiscally conservative nature of this Board.
“We should celebrate the elimination of this rate increase,” Davidson continued, “but we should also be cautious moving forward.”
Staff informed the Board that while the Capital R&R budget remains sound, the Operations and Maintenance budget has not received a rate increase since 2011, and costs have been going up. By the end of this year, staff intends to begin a cost of service study, which will identify future funding needs.
“We can’t thank the public enough for their ongoing investment in the Capital R&R Program,” Eggerton said, adding the infrastructure projects critical to public health and safety simply wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing public investment.
View the full list of Capital R&R projects at www.ccwd.org under the tab “Capital Improvements”.
Contact: Joel Metzger, PIO/Customer Relations Manager firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 754-3123
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