Friday, April 17, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

City Council elects to tie water project rates to all-debt financing payment method

By
From page A1 | January 16, 2013 |

Conscious of a dramatic spike in utility bills, driven by the looming cost of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency surface water project, the City Council signed off Tuesday on a proposed water rate hike tied to a scenario where the city would pay for the project entirely through debt financing.

Based on numbers the city provided to the council at their meeting, all-debt financing likely would smooth out rates for residents over the first five to seven years of the project, softening the blow to the consumer.

Compared to what city staff had been proposing, all-debt financing would lower rates — which city engineers have estimated will triple water bills during the next five years — by about 15 percent.

The council was asked Tuesday to approve water rates for five years that would be included on Proposition 218 notices that the city will send out later this month to inform property owners of the proposed rate increases.

The city needs to pump up water rates in order to begin to pay off the $113 million surface water project that will siphon water from the Sacramento River, treat it and pipe it to Davis and Woodland to replace each municipality’s existing ground well water supplies.

The Prop. 218 process allows cities to set maximum rates that the council can implement each year based on the revenue the city needs to generate in order to fund the city’s water utility.

City staff, including Herb Niederberger, the city’s general manager of utilities operations and development, recommended Tuesday that the council approve rates with a more diversified financing approach in order to receive the best bond rating possible.

But that would mean higher costs to the ratepayers up-front.

So, following some deliberation after receiving a handful of public comments from local business stakeholders — all of whom spoke to the immediate jump in rates that city staff was proposing — the City Council unanimously decided that the city should pay for the project entirely through debt financing.

“While it would be nice to have the ability to pay less over the full life of the project, I think for many residential customers, the increases are rather steep,” Councilman Brett Lee said. “I think it’s always nicer to have a slower ramp up until you hit that rate.”

On the other hand, as City Manager Steve Pinkerton pointed out, because the city would be deferring costs and — in essence — increasing the amount of revenue the city would need to generate overall, in roughly 10 years rates would consistently be higher until the project is completely paid off in 2050.

But Lee and the rest of the council would not be dissuaded.

“We get an extra four years (in the beginning) to get to that level of payment required from the customers, so basically we’re almost doubling the amount of time that people have to ramp up to the new, higher rates,” Lee said.

Prop. 218 notices including the five-year rate schedule and the rate structure, as well as information on the public hearing, will be sent out at the end of the month.

The public hearing will take place on March 19 in the Community Chambers of City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd. More than half of the city’s approximately 16,000 property owners must file written protest to block the water rate increase.

The City Council has placed the project up for a public vote through an all mail-in election of Measure I. Ballots asking whether registered voters approve of the city moving forward with the project will be sent out the week of Feb. 4 and are due back to the Yolo County Elections Office by March 5.

If the majority of the voting public votes No on the project, the city says it will still have to raise rates in order to maintain the city’s water utility. According to city numbers, rates would increase by 50 percent over the next five years without the surface water project on the books.

— Reach Tom Sakash at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter @TomSakash Follow all Davis water news using #daviswater

Comments

comments

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected], (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
.

News

Psychedelic rock posters recall 1960s concerts

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
UCD study: Crickets not enough to feed the world just yet

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A1

It’ll be a perfect day for a picnic — and lots more

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Turning a mess into olive oil success

By Dave Jones | From Page: A1 | Gallery

UCD expands emergency notification service

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A2

 
California vaccine bill stalls; will come back next week

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Cities: California water reduction order unrealistic, unfair

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Chasing criminals and water-wasters

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Enjoy a chemistry bang on Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Start your Picnic Day with pancakes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Local students to perform at fundraising concert

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
CA House hosts crepe breakfast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Doxie Derby crowns the winning wiener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Fundraiser benefits Ugandan women

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

See pups at Picnic Day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Davis poet will read his work at library

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4Comments are off for this post

 
Rotary Club hosts whisky tasting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Ribs and Rotary benefits local charities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Dodd plans fundraising barbecue in Davis

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Soroptimists set date for golf tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Socks collected for homeless veterans

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Council will present environmental awards Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Invention and upcycling to be honored at Square Tomatoes Fair

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Take a peek at Putah Creek on daylong tour

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Pence Gallery Garden Tour tickets on sale

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
UC Davis Circle K Club wins awards at district convention

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Davis authors featured at writing conference in Stockton

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Sign up soon for Davis history tour

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Campus firearms bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Emerson featured at photography program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Portuguese influence in Yolo County detailed

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Concert and dance party celebrate KDRT’s 10 years on the air

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Survival skills to be taught at preserve

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

.

Forum

The new one puts her foot down

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A8

It’s time to fight for California’s jobs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Future leaders give back

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Know where your gift is going

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

Pipeline veto a good move

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Artists offer heartfelt thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

.

Sports

DHS boys drop another Delta League match

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie women ready to host (win?) Big West golf tourney

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

New strength coach hopes to stem UCD football injury tide

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Herd has too much for Devil softballers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Les, AD Gould talk about the Aggie coach’s future

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Quintet of Aggie gymnasts honored for academics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
River Cats fall to Las Vegas

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

 
Diamondbacks defeat Giants in 12 innings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Features

DSF kicks off 10th anniversary celebration at the carousel

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
Many summer enrichment opportunities available for students

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

 
What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

.

Arts

‘True Story:’ In their dreams

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
‘Once’ an unforgetable celebration of music, relationships

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Honda shows off new Civic at New York show

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Obituaries

Ruth Rodenbeck Stumpf

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Robert Leigh Cordrey

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Friday, April 17, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B10