Reasons to vote for Measure P

By From page A6 | April 30, 2014

As a retired engineer who has worked on water and waste treatment projects, I am voting for Measure P because the current rates are overly complex and unfair.

The current rate structure, which effectively hides your water costs until it is too late to take corrective action, hurts everyone in Davis who does not maintain a detailed spreadsheet to track the actual costs.

The water charges on your bills for May through October represent only part of your water cost. The remaining cost will be added to all of your bills in 2015 as a “supply charge.” Davis residents will find out in 2015 what the water they used in 2014 actually cost them. If it turns out to be more than you can afford, too bad, you will have to wait until May through October 2015 to take action to reduce your supply charges for 2016. If you have a sprinkler head or hose break, or your child accidentally leaves a hose on, you will pay 13 higher bills for any such water mistakes.

I understand that the current rates were an attempt to apportion the fixed costs of the project equitably. However, the projected costs of the project were based on many assumptions that may or may not be correct, and even if they are correct, there is little agreement concerning how to divide them equitably.

In contrast, a simple flat per-gallon charge high enough to cover the fixed and variable costs of the project may not be perfect, but it would be fundamentally fair and would be understandable by all. The more you use, the more you pay. Anyone who wants to reduce their water bill could do so immediately by using less water.

Voting yes on Measure P will reject the current unfair and convoluted rate structure. Of course, even if Measure P passes, we still need to lobby the city to adopt a flat per-gallon rate that everyone can understand and is fair to all residents.

Owen LeGare


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