Thursday, April 17, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Council asks WAC to revisit water rates

By
From page A1 | December 12, 2012 | Leave Comment

With the clock winding down on a decision on Davis’ new water rates, the City Council once again chose Tuesday to lean on its Water Advisory Committee for advice.

The rate increases and a corresponding rate structure for the future are needed to pay for a proposed $113 million surface water project, which will go before the voters in March. The Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency project will siphon water from the Sacramento River, treat it and pump it to the two cities.

Davis and Woodland need the surface water, complementary to their ground water supplies, to meet drinking water standards set by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

The council voted 4-0 at its meeting, with Councilman Brett Lee abstaining, to ask the WAC to look at two basic fixed-rate models, rather than the Loge-Williams model the committee recommended last month, and to analyze a five-year rate schedule based on those models.

Lee abstained because he didn’t want to limit the committee in its options for choosing a rate structure.

Essentially, the committee, which meets Thursday to hash out the rate issue once and for all, will tell the council what residential water rates should look like for the next five years while the city pays off the project.

Those rates depend on the type of rate structure the city chooses to adopt.

If nothing else, it was clear Tuesday that among the options presented by city engineers, the untested consumption-based fixed rate model drafted by WAC members Frank Loge and Matt Williams was not one the council wanted to pursue, given its complexity and the potential difficulty of explaining it to ratepayers.

“We have to be looking at the overall big picture,” Councilwoman Rochelle Swanson said. “We’re trying to balance being able to have good financing, but it’s also about people feeling confident and comfortable that they know what they’re getting, so they’re not pushing back against it, so that the water project is not getting voted down because of the rates.”

Loge and Williams’ system would charge customers a fixed rate to recover the city’s infrastructure costs based on previous water consumption history.

Ratepayers also would continue to pay for the water they use by the gallon, or on a sliding scale through an inclining block tier structure. A third basic fixed fee would be called a “readiness to serve” charge.

Mayor Joe Krovoza appeared to be the only member of the council comfortable with moving forward with the untested rate structure, but in the end he agreed, in the interest of clarity, that the city should hold off on implementing it.

Mayor Pro Tem Dan Wolk made the motion to direct the Water Advisory Committee to go back Thursday and look at two types of basic fixed rate structures to determine water rates for the next five years.

Wolk said he would rather that the city, for now, implement a “tried and true” system that is more familiar to residents.

“I think there’s a lot of great merit to the (Loge-Williams model), but I feel that for the reasons that we’ve mentioned that there may be a better way,” Wolk said.

The first model he suggested is the most commonly used structure in California. It’s a fixed rate structure that charges customers a flat fee determined by water meter size and then a variable fee on an inclining block, three-tier scale based on how much water a customer uses per month.

The city of Davis uses this type of structure for its existing water infrastructure needs, but with two tiers of water users, rather than the proposed three.

Bartle Wells Associates, the city’s rate consultant, recommended this structure to the council as its best option moving forward and projects that, using this structure, the average single-family homeowner would pay about $100 per month by 2018.

The second option Wolk offered was a uniform block rate structure where, regardless of how much water the customer uses, the price per gallon never changes. The flat fee for fixed charges portion would not differ from the tiered model.

Bartle Wells says this is the second most common rate structure in the state and that the average single-family homeowner would pay about $117 per month for water under it.

Wolk tacked on to his motion that, regardless of what structure the city eventually settles upon, after two years the City Council would reassess the rate structure and potentially look at the Loge-Williams model.

The City Council must finalize rate increases and a rate structure to send out with Proposition 218 notices by Jan. 15 so it can have rates in place in time to pay for the surface water project.

But before the city of Davis can pursue the project, it must be approved through a public vote.

Measure I ballots will be sent to all registered voters in Davis on Feb. 4 and are due back to the Yolo County Elections Office by March 5. A majority of affirmative votes are needed to permit the City Council to move ahead with the project.

— Reach Tom Sakash at tsakash@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash

Tom Sakash

Tom Sakash covers the city beat for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at tsakash@davisenterprise.net, (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Davis Enterprise does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    Benefit set for local bike legend

    By Adrian Glass-Moore | From Page: A1

     
     
    For the record

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A2

    Three killed in attack on Ukrainian base

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    California residents divided on drought solution

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A2

     
    Scholar will discuss human trafficking in Friday talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Downtown post office set to reopen

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B3

    Run or walk to prevent child abuse in Yolo County

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    Nominations sought for charity paint giveaway

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

    Learn more about Google Glass at talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Per Capita Davis: Now, for some good news

    By John Mott-Smith | From Page: A4

    Birch Lane hosts 50th anniversary party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Hannah Stein reads poetry at gallery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis Food Co-op to offer free bags on Earth Day

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Get in the picture with school board candidate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    KDVS hosts on-air fundraiser April 21-27

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Tickets on sale for Pence Garden Tour

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Fundraiser planned for Allen’s campaign

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Food Co-op board plans open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis Downtown hosts candidate forum

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A4

     
    Barbecue celebrates winter shelter program

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Davis Soroptimists celebrate 60 years

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    Sign of things to come

    By Fred Gladdis | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Fancy meeting you here …

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Have they really learned?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    A great community effort

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Public Health Heroes honored

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    Don’t miss a Trokanski dance

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Frank Bruni: The oldest hatred, forever young

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A6

     
    Expert: Free parking is a myth

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Foster steps down as Lady Blue Devil basketball coach

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    River Cats’ streak reaches six wins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Landry evolves into UCD women’s lacrosse leader

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Huge inning propels Pleasant Grove past DHS

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    Giants edge Dodgers

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Youth roundup: Martinez, Chan come up big at gymnastics regional

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Kings drop season finale to Suns

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

     
    Angels get past A’s in extras

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Wineaux: Good deals off the beaten path

    By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A7

     
    Rockabilly phenom to play at The Palms

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    HellaCappella showcases a cappella singing

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    ‘One’ singular sensation to open at DMTC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    25th annual state clay competition exhibit at The Artery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Tapan Munroe

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Thursday, April 17, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6