Water Hikes – On the Rise

| December 31, 2013 | 0 Comments
Councilmember Scott Sherman represents District 7.

Councilmember Scott Sherman represents District 7.

Councilmember Scott Sherman In Opposition

On November 21, the City Council voted 8-1 to dramatically increase water rates in the City of San Diego despite angry public comments by dozens of ratepayers and thousands of signed protest forms. I cast the lone dissenting vote against this rate hike.

The action taken by the City Council will increase rates by 14.75 percent over two years – a 7.25 percent increase in calendar year 2014 and a 7.5 percent increase in 2015.

One of the biggest concerns I have is regarding how the rate increases were structured. The top tier of the rate structure is particularly high and will result in a dramatic increase for water purchased in that tier. The four tier rate structure may cause an unforeseen financial burden on families with several children who have difficulty conserving water. This water rate increase will hurt middle class families and is absolutely unnecessary.

In the previous two years, the City absorbed pass-through rates instead of passing them on to the consumers. However, now they are currently trying to retroactively recover these rates. The current proposal recommends that 5 percent of the increase for 2014 and 4.75 percent of the increase for 2015 be used in order to recover prior year County Water Authority pass-through rates. In this case, I do not think that the City should be able to decide after a fee has been set and costs deliberately absorbed, that the taxpayers should be on the hook to recover those costs.

Another flaw in the methodology for this increase is that the Cost of Service Study uses “recent historical trends” to forecast zero new water connections in the City for both 2014 and 2015. This is not a realistic assumption considering that in Mission Valley alone 3,000 new units are being constructed which would translate to an addition of 3,000 new rates payers. Not including future development reduces forecasted revenues and contributes to the creation of an artificial need for a rate increase.

I am supportive of investing in our water infrastructure when necessary, but for the reasons I have stated here, I am opposed to this rate increase.

It is my job to serve as your voice at City Hall. Please feel free to contact me directly at 619-236-6677 or via email at ScottSherman@sandiego.gov if my office can be of service to you.

Scott Sherman is the City Councilmember for District 7, which includes San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, Grantville, Mission Valley, Serra Mesa, Linda Vista , MCAS Miramar and Tierrasanta.

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