Demand a fair share on rates

By From page B6 | June 01, 2014

The City Council and those who devised the consumption-based fixed rate water charges say that the rates are fair because ratepayers will pay in proportion to their maximum usage. This is not true.

Single-family homeowners will pay 40 percent more per gallon of water than will owners of multi-family units. This is because the rates for apartment owners will be based on the period of the year when water consumption by their parcels is far lower than single-family water needs, and because of the way the meter rate was constructed.

The period of maximum water usage is assumed to be May through October, when residents of single-family homes typically use more water, and this period is used for calculating water rates. However, the owners of Davis apartment buildings use relatively less water during the summer than during the non-summer because many (most?) renters leave town during the summer.

Apartment owners (who pay the water bills of their parcels) will not be carrying their fair share of the water system infrastructure costs because of this, and because they are undercharged for the flat meter component of the rate.

Furthermore, you will not be able to determine your water charges in advance (as the city claims) because your cost will depend on the total amount of water used throughout the city, which you can’t control. Sixty-seven percent of your water bill will be governed by the city’s “annual revenue requirement related to water supply and treatment.” That cost (i.e., the money needed to pay the infrastructure loans, etc.) will be apportioned to ratepayers according to their usage relative to the total city water usage. If everyone conserves water, your bill will go up because the city must generate a certain amount of money for the fixed costs, regardless of how much water is used.

Don’t buy the scare tactics. The project will not collapse while a new rate schedule is proposed and approved. Vote yes on Measure P to send the message for fair, sensible rates to the council, and cast one of your council votes for John Munn.

Leigh Segel


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