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COSTA MESA : Mesa Board Votes to Raise Water Rates

The Mesa Consolidated Water District board of directors this week approved water rate hikes that will go into effect in January.

The average two-month residential water bill in the district, which covers parts of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach, will rise to $42.60 from $40.16. The board agreed to raise the basic charge to $8 from $7, and the unit cost to $1.08 from $1.05.

The vote came after two nights of hearings in which many residents spoke for and against the increase. Many of those opposed cited water-saving measures that they have taken in the hopes of reducing water-rate increases.

Resident William Kessel asked the board to delay the rate increase until the economy picks up.

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“When there’s a pickup in the economy, then take a look (at an increase). Business has to change that way and I believe facilities should have to also,” he said.

Water district general manager Karl Kemp said the district has cut its budget by 7.5% this year and has employed several cost-cutting measures.

Board member Henry Panian also noted that the water district staff has saved about $100,000 over the past two years in workers’ compensation by implementing a safety program and has saved more money through credits and cost-saving measures.

Water rates were last raised in 1988.

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