Friday, October 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Council to consider untested water rate structure

By
From page A1 | December 11, 2012 |

Nearly one month after the Davis Water Advisory Committee voted 8-2 to advise the City Council to install an untested and innovative rate structure to bill ratepayers for water, the council will finally have the opportunity to weigh in.

Follow:

@Tom Sakash on Twitter

#daviswater on Twitter

Learn more

What: Davis City Council

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Community Chambers, Davis City Hall

Watch it: Live on City Government Channel 16 on Comcast and on AT&T U-Verse Channel 99

Facing construction costs of a surface water project that likely will double or triple the average Davis water bill over the next five years, the water committee had been tasked by the council to pick the fairest way to bill residents for their share of the city’s water utility.

The Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency project is estimated to cost Davis $113 million. The council has decided to put the entire project up to an all-mail public vote, called Measure I.

Residents will receive their ballots, in addition to arguments and rebuttals for and against the project, from the Yolo County Elections Office the week of Feb. 4. Ballots are due back by Tuesday, March 5.

The project will pump water from the Sacramento River, treat it and pipe it to Davis and Woodland. Its purpose is to supplement both cities’ dependence on deteriorating ground water supplies.

Rather than picking a tiered inclining block rate structure, the most commonly used system in the state to charge customers for water, the committee supported a new rate structure devised by committee members Frank Loge and Matt Williams.

Committee members, who debated several types of rate structures for three hours at its Nov. 15 meeting, eventually agreed that their colleagues’ model was the fairest way to bill customers.

The Loge-Williams system works by tracking how many gallons of water a customer uses in the previous year, comparing that amount to how much the rest of the residents in the city used and then charging the customer for their percentage-use of overall water consumption.

In addition to the fixed-rate costs, residents would be charged a variable rate through an inclining tiered structure to pay for the actual water they use.

There also would be another base fixed fee that the city’s rate consultant, Bartle Wells Associates, calls a “readiness-to-serve” fee for residents to have access to the system, regardless of how much water they consume.

As Loge and Williams have said, under the old structure, two water users with the same meter size could use two entirely different amounts of water, but pay the exact same amount on their water bills.

There seems to be agreement between the water committee and city staff that the Loge-Williams method is the fairest way to bill ratepayers for water, but city staff members have voiced concerns over the risks of implementing it in Davis.

The City Council can increase water rates to ratepayers only through the state’s Proposition 218 process.

That process stipulates that the council must send out notices of pending rate increases, including an explanation of the rate structure and the corresponding rates, to all property owners in the city.

Staff worries that if the language is too difficult to understand, it may hurt the chances of approval by the public, which would jeopardize the city’s participation in the surface water project.

The other concern the city has is that an untested system could discourage creditors from using their most optimal financing terms for loans to pay for the project, which could mean potentially higher interest rates to pay off the debt service to the city and subsequently higher water rates.

Regardless of what the council decides Tuesday, the WAC is expected to finalize a rate recommendation to the council Thursday. The City Council then will send out Prop. 218 notices on Jan. 15.

If more than half of the property owners protest, the rate increase is suspended.

Last year, about 4,500 property owners out of 15,800 in the city protested a rate hike that the City Council approved in September. A citizen-driven referendum was then circulated, collecting enough signatures from residents to overturn the rates the council passed. The council repealed the rates and then decided to form the Water Advisory Committee to reassess the city’s position on a surface water project.

— Reach Tom Sakash at tsakash@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @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 tsakash@davisenterprise.net, (530) 747-8057 or @TomSakash.
  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

     
    State superintendent makes campaign stop in Davis

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Indians celebrate Diwali with gala on Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Rairdan dinged for late report

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

     
    Veterans will tailgate at ‘Salute to Heroes’ game

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Wolk hailed for environmental votes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yamada honored for leadership on aging issues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Embroidery group meets at mall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Bet Haverim will hear Israel update

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Local artisans featured at holiday craft fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Kids walk for friends at Birch Lane

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit: Creep out with some spooky science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

    Shambhala offers Tai Chi class

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Bones for Life classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Enjoy wine, music and art at Sunday fundraiser for DHS choir

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

     
    Garamendi, Dodd get my votes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    High hopes for Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Public service is in her heart

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A calm, thoughtful voice

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Sunder is a perfect fit

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Best predictor is past behavior

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Vote for students, with Tuck

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    My choices on Tuesday

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    DHS plays undefeated Pacers Friday night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devil girls net an easy win at Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie offense A-OK; now what about defense?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    In Davis, rugby is as American as apple pie

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
     
    Niemi’s 43 saves aren’t enough in loss to Wild

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Birdman': A dark comedy that soars

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

     
    Marcia Ball to play at The Palms

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Big, capable luxury defines Yukon

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Joseph Francis Gray

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 31, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER3

    RE/Max Gold

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER4

    Kim Eichorn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER5

    Yolo FCU

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Juan Ramirez

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Team Traverso

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Tracy Harris

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Julie Leonard

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER10

    Leslie Blevins

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Robin Garland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Jamie Madison

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Diane Lardelli

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Ciana Wallace

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER15

    Travis Credit Union

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER16

    Malek Baroody

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

    Marcelo Campos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER20