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Residents protest proposed water rate increases in advance of Huntington Beach council meeting

Residents protest proposed water rate increases in advance of Huntington Beach council meeting
The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday is scheduled to consider increasing water rates for a five-year period to help ensure financial sustainability. (Getty Images)

More than 300 letters protesting a proposal to increase water bills were sent ahead of Monday’s Huntington Beach City Council meeting.

Most single family residences would pay $53.03 a month — 70 cents more than what they pay now — in the first year of five annual rate increases.

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It is unclear how much households would pay in the fifth year, 2024, because the city’s water rates are formulated using a variety of components.

The plan, which a city report says will shore up the city’s finances, needs five votes from the seven-member council to take effect on July 1.

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The rate spike is expected to raise $39 million in fiscal 2019-20.

Under the proposal, sewer rates would see a reduction of $1 per month to $10.35 for most single-family households. According to the staff report, the adjustment is recommended because major capital sewer projects received financing from a different fund.

Some critics of the proposed water rate said they lived on fixed incomes.

City attorney seeks raise, new assistant

In other business, the council will consider increasing City Atty. Michael Gates’ salary and creating an additional chief assistant city attorney position.

Gates is seeking a $12 hourly rate increase to $117. The proposed adjustment takes into account that he voluntarily took a salary cut when voters elected him, as well as his performance in office, according to a city report.

The new position, which would manage and oversee all trial matters, would carry a monthly salary between $12,938 and $16,026.

The city attorney’s existing annual budget would absorb the cost of the new position.

Monday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 2000 Main St.

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