Commentary

Mesa Water rate increases seem like a foregone conclusion

Mesa Water Board members have predetermined their approval to increase water rates, thus conducting a public hearing Nov. 9 is just a formality, a requirement of state law.

Here is the humorous part: They call it a “rate adjustment,” which is like dressing a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The rate increase, for those who live here in Costa Mesa, would be 5% a year for the next five years. In my opinion, they need to show cost reductions and lean operations prior to asking for rate increases.

Talk about raising such rates had been planned in advance, when we were told to conserve 20% of water usage. Though the public hearing will put these rate hikes in new focus, Mesa staff has known about them for a long time. This makes it even more important to put guardrails around such organizations.

The rate increases are a punishment for those who saved by cutting their water consumption during the drought period. Here’s my take: the Mesa board votes to increase rates are already cast in stone, so the notice of public hearing is just another offense to our citizens.

You hear more things about a revenue deficit. You want to listen more carefully because it’s harder to cut costs. I think the arithmetic is one of the most difficult parts of rate increases, even more so than the politics, though they interact.

Rate increase announcements are required by state law. As such, I always caution to pay attention to the policies that are implied, and to pay attention to the provisions that are included, but I also expect protests from our citizens during the public hearing.

There will be some comments. However, as always, your voice will never count, as the back-and-forth public comments aren’t likely to change politicians’ votes. Again, here I hope that I am wrong.

Express your voice: attend the public hearing Nov. 9 and provide your input. Find out if you voice counts or not.

If you agree with paying more money, you need to do nothing. If you disagree with rate increases, a good place to start is to cast your vote to replace the currently elected board members.

Keeping an eye out on the currently elected could also shed some light on future elections. What has been clear is that politicians will do and say anything to advance their ideologies.

AL MORELLI lives in Costa Mesa.

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