Water board raises rates

LA CRESCENTA — The Crescenta Valley Water District officials are scheduled to review a proposal next week that could pass on rate increases for imported water to residents.

Under the proposal, which includes rate increases for next month, future rate hikes from the district’s water suppliers could be passed on without additional action by the Crescenta Valley Water District Board of Directors.

The Crescenta Valley imports about 40% of its water from the Foothill Municipal Water District, which is supplied by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Metropolitan instituted a 20% rate hike in September, which Foothill passed along to the Crescenta Valley Water District. An additional increase will go into effect today.

At first, Crescenta Valley rates remained stable, but district officials say they can no longer absorb the higher rates, which have been compounded by increased costs for maintenance and operations.

“There’s really not a whole lot you can say when you are getting a 20% rate increase and we are passing on a nominal increase,” said Christy Scott, a program specialist with the district.

Under the district’s tiered rate structure, the average household would see an increase of only about 50 cents per two-month billing cycle if the proposal is approved. Schools and multifamily units would also see a only slight rate increase, according to the district.

But residents who use the most water, as well as irrigation customers like the California Department of Transportation, would see more significant changes to their bills, officials said.

Under the proposal, residents who use more than 61,000 gallons of water per billing cycle and irrigation customers using more than 71,000 gallons of water per billing cycle would face a roughly 15% rate increase per unit.

The decision would be the first major action made by the board since two new faces won seats in November’s election — the result of the most politically charged race in recent years.

Challengers Kerry Erickson and James Bodnar and incumbent Richard Atwater won the three available seats on the district’s five-person board, while incumbent board president Vasken Yardemian and incumbent director Charles Beatty were unseated.

Bodnar declined to say how he would vote on the proposal, but added that he is generally supportive of tiered rates because they encourage conservation.

“I feel that the people who use the most water should be penalized and people who use less water should have a lower rate,” he said.

So far the district has received only three written protests to the rate increases, Scott said. And only a handful of people attended a December public hearing on the proposal.

Bodnar said the limited public reaction to the proposal is likely because it will not have a significant effect on most households.

“When you look at the monetary amount, it’s not a huge impact,” he said.

The directors will meet 7 p.m. Tuesday at the district offices, 2700 Foothill Blvd. in La Crescenta.


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