News-Press Editorial: Rate increase should be cut in half

The City Council appears to be leaning toward raising electricity rates an eye-popping 29% by 2018.

That means the average single-family homeowner who pays $103.15 monthly now would see rates increase by $9.16 to $122.31 next fiscal year and then an additional $21.38 through 2018 to $133.69. This is simply untenable for many Glendale residents and small businesses who struggle mightily enough as it is to make ends meet.

Unfortunately, the council has found itself in a tough position. There is a legitimate need for additional revenue and arguments to the contrary hold little sway. Despite complaints about the impact of revenue transfers, the fact remains the millions transferred from Glendale Water & Power to the city's general fund pay for services people want and need.

We suggest the City Council soften the blow to Glendale electricity ratepayers by reducing the increase to about half the current proposal, then seek other ways to close the gap. Perhaps there could be temporary boosts in sales or hotel taxes that would spread the burden to a broader base, including not just residents, but visitors and shoppers.

The idea of higher taxes in any form is unsettling to many, but unless ratepayers can absorb the 29% increase — and we understand why many say that could present a hardship — a bankrupt utility on the city's hands is the apparent alternative. That, we believe, is far too high a price to pay.

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