Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Public hearing on water rate increases unfolds Tuesday night at council meeting

From page A1 | March 19, 2013 |

The City Council will host the long-awaited public hearing Tuesday night to raise water rates citywide. The hearing will take place during the council’s meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Chambers of City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.

It will be broadcast live on Comcast Channel 16 and AT&T U-verse Channel 99. The meeting also will be streamed live online at www.cityofdavis.org/media.

Unless a sufficient number of water ratepayers protest the rate increases, which were sent to all property owners last month, the council will have the ability to raise rates over the next five years and essentially triple the average Davis water bill.

The city needs the higher rates to begin paying off Davis’ $113 million share of the $245 million Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency surface water project, among other maintenance and operational costs associated with the city’s water utility.

The project will pump water from the Sacramento River, treat it and pipe it to Davis and Woodland, largely replacing each city’s groundwater supplies. The project was approved by Davis voters in the March 5 election on Measure I.

The increases would inflate the city’s annual water enterprise fund revenue total from $10 million to $23 million by 2018.

Written protests objecting to the rate increases may be turned in Tuesday to the city clerk’s office in Suite 4 at City Hall, and will be accepted at Tuesday’s meeting until the council closes the public hearing.

More than half of the city’s approximately 16,500 ratepayers must submit written protests to stop the council from adopting the rate increases. As of last week, the city had received more than 1,200 “unverified” protests.

The city clerk will conduct a cursory review of the protests upon closure of the public hearing tonight. If the amount of protests appear to number “manifestly” less than half of the property owners in Davis, the clerk may advise the council that the absence of a majority protest exists and the council may proceed with adoption of the rates, if it so chooses.

If the cursory review is not definitive, the clerk must tabulate the total number of protests to determine the outcome. Under that scenario, the council would have to close the public hearing and determine when and where the tabulation would occur.

Staff recommends to disband Water Advisory Committee

In addition to adopting the rate increases, city staff will recommend that the council officially conclude the service of its Water Advisory Committee and, in its place, appoint a utility rate advisory committee to guide the council on future general utility rate decisions, such as for sewer and trash collection services.

In 2012, the water committee pulled back the curtain on the surface water project to scrutinize its every detail to fully vet the project for the council and the public.

The group’s landmark decisions included voting unanimously in favor of conjunctive use — drawing both surface water and groundwater —recommending 8-2 that the council pursue surface water through the Woodland-Davis water project and recommending the innovative consumption-based fixed rate model to charge residents for water. The rate model was created by committee members Frank Loge and Matt Williams.

However, as the committee’s chief remaining charge is to consider costs associated with the water utility, Herb Niederberger, the city’s general manager of utilities, development and operation, recommends ending the WAC’s work and grouping those discussions and decisions in with that of a new general utility rate-focused committee.

Another task yet to be tackled by the water committee, to assess the city’s 20 percent conservation goal by 2020, could be delegated to the Natural Resources Commission, staff believes.

If the council does not want to form the new utility rate committee, staff says the work could be taken on by the NRC or the Finance and Budget Commission.

If the WAC is disbanded, staff also recommends hosting a ceremonial presentation to recognize its members’ service.

— 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.


School nurses stretched thin

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

New DHS Hall-of-Famers

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A3

Exploration of dementia lecture set for Sept. 25

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sierra Club gathers for morning walks

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

DPNS has afternoon openings

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Paws for Thought: Socialize your new pup at UCD’s Yappy Hour

By Evelyn Dale | From Page: A3 | Gallery

DHS parents go back to school

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Sick-pay benefits expanded to millions

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A4

Bad roads cost Californians billions

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Farmers market continues at Sutter Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Yolo County’s looking for a few good advisers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Search the Internet at Connections Café

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Garage, bake sales benefit outdoor education trip

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A5

Sutter qigong classes start Sept. 22

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Hundreds flee wildfires; homes burn

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Harmony Award nominations sought

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Da Vinci seniors take on Constitution essay

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



Maybe not the best rebound guy

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Carbon fee and dividend plan is the answer

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Nate Beeler cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Many reasons to back Sunder

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

I support Madhavi Sunder

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

A leader with heart and vision

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6



More pressure on QB would be nice for Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Raber: glad to join in bringing readers golf column

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B1

Open Cup final has local flavor

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1

Devil volleyball victories keep piling up

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

DHS needs just 10 boys to top Elk Grove

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Finding the good in a tough DHS football loss

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

Highlights galore in Junior Blue Devil weekend

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Sports briefs: Big Monday for Masiel as DHS golfer win league opener

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery





‘Jane Eyre’ to screen at I-House

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

‘Shrek, The Musical’ shines at DMTC

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Anais Mitchell to play Third Space

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Irish fiddlers come to Davis house show

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Jenny Lynn and Her Real Gone Daddies play at Picnic in the Park

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Woodland artist hosts event at her new studio

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11







Comics: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

Comics: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7