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.


regor said...

As I have found out, if it helps the residents of northern Poway, then it will pass. What would be fair to the majority of Poway doesn't work unless Green Valley is behind it. Just look at the water tier system they had. They paid a consultant $$$ and approved it, but when Green Valley complained about their high water costs, they got rid of it. As I had told the council long before they hired the consultant, form a citizen’s board to come up with something agreeable. Never happened so they wasted $$$ for a consultant.

Anonymous said...

"If a majority of Poway water customers sent an official protest..."

Wow, exactly how is that "majority" determined? and that "majority" has all this time to write and post/deliver this letter.

Thanks for the way up front early notice.

It sort of reminds me of what that long-winded council member once said, "I'd be more impressed (and subject to be convinced) if 2,000 people were here protesting. Since there aren't here, then it must be OK."

PowayBlog said...

Only one protest letter/per address is allowed. The City would have to receive negative protest letters from just over 50% of all residential households to nix the rate increase per Prop 218. Since you did not know that, I would assume you did not read the information that was sent to you (if you are a Poway water customer). There are a lot of other people who are unaware of what goes into their water and sewer rates. Thus, they don't show up in droves at a council meeting. I know my little blog may only reach a handful of people, but that is no reason for the council to take advantage of some people, is it?

Anonymous said...

Considering the arrogant "we know better than you" attitude exhibited by the council during the Wal-Mart expansion debate I doubt any protests to the proposed water rate increase will be considered.

Poway Blog said...

Yes, I believe the people who opposed expanding Wal-Mart did show up in droves to protest at multiple council meetings. So that showing-up-in-droves thing seems to work for some groups, but not for others.

Joe St. Lucas said...

At the council meeting, Tina White said that there are 3000 customers who have their water pumped. Vineyard is speaking against us all paying for this and the backflow preventers. He must read this blog.

PowayBlog said...

Joe, some of those 3000 customers are in the industrial park. Others are single family homes on very large acreage with a lot of avocado trees. Why should the rest of us pay the electricity costs to pump water to someone's avocado grove. They don't share the profits with us, but we help pay for the costs of growing those avocados.