Wednesday, September 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

City could work to lower water bills

By
From page A1 | April 22, 2014 |

The City Council could vote on a path tonight that might lower Davis’ water rates by 8 percent at the same time an initiative to throw out the rates is on the June 3 ballot.

City staff is recommending that the council authorize consultants and the newly formed Utility Rate Advisory Committee to review the current rates and determine if they can be reduced or modified.

City officials say the relationship to the timing of the Measure P vote on June 3 is entirely coincidental. The council had a standing order all along to look for any way to lessen the impact of the Sacramento River water diversion project on Davis ratepayers. The project will cost Davis $107 million or $129 million, depending on how money is measured over time.

“Even if (the initiative) was not on the ballot, we would go forward and look at what we could do to reduce the rates,” said Harriet Steiner, city attorney.

The report says the savings are accomplished through cost efficiencies gained by hiring the same engineering firm, CH2M Hill, to design, build and then operate the river water diversion system. They are also managed by organizing financing costs.

“To be straightforward and honest at the time of Measure I, we did not want to underestimate the rates in any way,” said Mayor Joe Krovoza.

Measure I, which authored Davis’ participation in the joint water project, was approved by local voters in March 2013.

The recommended 8 percent reduction is the limit that city staff believes can take place right now without shirking financial obligations to service millions of dollars in bonds.

Yet the report — authored by Herb Niederberger, the city’s general manager of utilities development and operations — also serves another of the council’s purposes: being specific about the city’s interpretation of costs to Davis if Measure P is approved.

The report states that the measure would limit Davis’ ability to meet deadlines in the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency Joint Powers Agreement to the point where the city could trigger a terminations clause. And termination would cost millions of dollars.

The city already has spent $25 million for the project and Davis is on the hook for $36.5 million over 24 years for the purchase of water rights from Conaway Preservation Group. Finally, damages to Woodland would be $50 million.

But there’s the possibility of interim financing to cover the costs Davis would need to pay to avoid default in the joint powers agreement. The council will learn more about that tonight.

There’s more. If Davis misses out on the opportunity to use low interest rates to finance the project, the potential price tag to the city and its ratepayers would be $100 million in “long-term project costs,” and Davis would not be able to meet the demands of state water regulators for selenium and other water treatment hurdles.

“The water system is an enterprise fund that is funded through water rates,” the report reads. “City staff cannot determine with any certainty the impact on the city’s water rates if Measure P is adopted and the aforementioned default and penalty payments are incurred and Davis no longer participates in (the water diversion project).”

Due to the risks of the June 3 election, city staff were pointed in their advice to the council.

“Given the potential significant costs to the city’s ratepayers, staff believes that (the) city must do whatever it takes to avoid the possibility of defaults on the (water project) and the consequence of penalty payments to either Woodland or the (Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency),” the report reads.

In addition, the report recommends that, if Measure P passes, the city waste no time in initiating a new Proposition 218 rate-setting process.

“Measure P should run its course on June 3,” Krovoza said.

 — Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or call 530-747-8057.

 

 

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    New water rates take effect in November

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

     
    A pot o’ gold for Rainbow City revival

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Marsh trial guilt phase enters home stretch

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    Weakened Odile heads toward U.S.; tourists evacuated

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Three women stuck in Putah Creek while paddleboarding

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: News about our modest college town

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Crews battle wildfire’s explosive growth

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    AAUW hosts conversation with Gilardi

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Master Gardeners will answer questions Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Storyteller will draw on music, dance

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Show off your electric vehicles on Sunday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Learn about youth leadership program on Sept. 28

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Sign up now for free Community Yard Sale

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Saylor meets constituents at Peet’s

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Free introductory yoga, chanting workshop offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Rotary seeks project requests

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Sign up soon for a new year of Writing Buddies

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Register to vote by Oct. 20

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Senior Center to host jewelry sale

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    .

    Forum

    Time to go get help

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Bicycle bells needed for safety

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Are we going to wait until someone here dies?

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

     
    Firefighters went above, beyond

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Grocery bags are biohazards

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Can’t we work collaboratively?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Please vaccinate your children

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    Mental-health treatment lacking

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Braly’s column lightens the heart

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    UCD women take third at elite golf event

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Aggie men stay in 10th to finish St. Mary’s Invite

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Formidable UCD defense melts Hornets

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devils go the distance to triumph at Chico

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Diamondbacks slam Giants

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Baseball roundup: Peavy, Posey lead Giants past Arizona

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Sounders win U.S. Open Cup in overtime

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B2

     
    AYSO roundup: Ultra Violet illuminates a victory

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

    Alliance roundup: Soccer success comes on the road and at home

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Legacy roundup: Gunners get a win over Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Name Droppers: Bamforth leads international brewing institute

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Name Droppers: UC Davis announces eight new fellows

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Just desserts? A sweet treat is worth the effort

    By Julie Cross | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Arts

    Apply now for Davis Community Idol

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Classic ‘Hello, Dolly!’ wows at Woodland Opera House

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Davis students prepare dishes for Empty Bowls fundraiser

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Nine Davis artists chosen to show in KVIE Art Auction

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Sacred Harp singers will gather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A8