October 15, 2012
Water Rate Increase on the Agenda in Poway
It's that time of the year again. On Tuesday, the Poway City Council is poised to raise both the fixed water fees and water rates. Last year, the council voted to abandon their tiered conservation water for a more uniform rate, thereby increasing rates significantly for lower volume water users. This year's little surprise is that the council intends to relieve the folks in High Valley, Old Coach, the Industrial Park and other high places from having to pay those pesky pumping fees. The City will fold the pumping fees into the regular water fees of ALL the water users.
The new water rates for single family residential customers will be $3.96/ unit. That is up 13 cents a unit. The fixed water service charge will go up almost a buck, from $28.00 to $28.98 for each 2-month billing period.
These increases aren't the most severe we've had, but the pattern of dumping any and every possible charge, fee and rate increase disproportionately onto those who use less of something or onto those who don't even use something (e.g. pumping) is onerous.
In addition to getting stung for somebody else's pumping charges, Poway water customers are also paying for the costs to administer a backflow device inspection service. Only people with wells or on reclaimed water require the yearly inspection, yet the costs to administer this service is dumped on all of us. Is that fair? Remember, this is the City that charges higher sewer rates to people who use less water. This City is all about who is being advantaged.
If you want to formally protest the increase of rates, and in particular, getting stung with all future pumping fees of the high landers, you need to submit a written notification to the City Clerk containing your address or assessor's parcel number and your signature by 4 pm Tuesday, October 16th. You can also drop it off before the 7pm meeting in the Council chambers. If a majority of Poway water customers sent an official protest, the new water rates won't take effect. That is a very high bar to reach, and not likely to happen even when a lot of people are upset with the rates. If you want to unofficially complain, but don't have time to drop off a letter at City Hall, you can send an email to the council before Tuesday's meeting. If you send an email it won't count in the official protest numbers but it will put the City on notice that you are paying attention, which is the first step toward any change.