Friday, March 6, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Committee deadlocks on water rates

By
From page A1 | June 20, 2014 |

The City Council is on its own when it comes to water rates.

The Utility Rate Advisory Committee could not come to agreement on recommending water rates after three meetings and a deadline that struck Thursday night.

A majority of its seven voting members couldn’t agree on a rate recommendation, coming closest with a 3-3 vote and one abstention on a complex motion that city staff said would be impossible for the council to execute.

The motion, presented by Frank Loge, the co-author of the water rates voted down by Measure P supporters in the June 3 election, advised the council to accept a largely gallon-by-gallon water rate with only a 13 percent fixed charge if it could pass muster with the bond rating agencies.

If not, the motion advised the council choose one of three conventional rates with significantly higher fixed rates — 40 percent. Some of those rates had tiers for different levels of water use. Committee member Ben Bourne added a friendly amendment that a drought surcharge be added to the rates.

The higher the fixed rate, the more burden on low-income and fixed-income water customers, but also the better for the water system’s perceived financial performance in the eyes of bond rating agencies, because fixed rates are more certain income.

However, Mark Northcross, the city’s bond financial adviser, said recently the city could create an estimated $4 million rate stabilization fund that should satisfy bond rating agencies in the event that the council chooses a water rate structure with a low fixed base.

The committee’s other vote, to include only the conventional rates as an option, garnered just two votes, four against and one abstention.

Herb Niederberger, the city’s general manager of utilities, said it took months for the voted-down water rates to get a preliminary bond rating estimate, and that came only after the rates had been vetted by legal experts. Committee member Greg Clumpner said Northcross could give the council the bond rating vetting it needed to move forward.

The council is set on approving a water rate by early July so it can meet its October deadline of having rates approved through the Proposition 218 process in place, so it can qualify for low-interest state financing. Measure P supporters dispute that idea, saying the city is making up another fire drill.

“I don’t think the council can act on the recommendation,” Niederberger told Loge.

“That’s a consideration they’ll have to deal with,” Loge said.

Later, committee member Johannes Troost made a motion to fully report the voting of the committee to the council and the names of each committee member attached to each vote.

“I’m worried, Herb, that we’re not giving an honest view about what is occurring,” Troost said. His motion passed, 5-1-1.

Chairwoman Elaine Roberts Musser said the City Council “is completely split” on water rate design.

The council will discuss water rates when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Community Chambers at City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.

Some of the most pointed comments Thusday came from the public.

Former Mayor Sue Greenwald, a vocal proponent of Measure P, said high fixed costs would hurt senior citizens.

“The people who are coming up to me hysterical about the (water) rates are all seniors,” she said.

Meanwhile, Michael Harrington, a local attorney who helped sue the city over its old water rates and put together Measure P, told the committee to slow down and wait on recommending a water rate. Otherwise, the citizens committee that defeated the old rates is ready to go again, he said.

“We’re fired up and ready to go if it’s not done right,” he said. “… You have the authority of the committee to push back (on the City Council).”

Harrington said a conventional rate with a 40 percent fixed base was definitely too high, but that he had not looked at the 13 percent fixed-rate version.

— Reach Dave Ryan at [email protected] or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

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

  • .

    News

    Life after lawn: Fifty greens for shade

    By Katie F. Hetrick | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bay Area developers join Mace proposal

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

    Trial ordered in Davis child death case

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

     
    ‘Topping out': Sign a building beam at the Shrem Museum

    By Jeffrey Day | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    CHP car hit with bullet on highway

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    UCD police warn of sexual battery incident

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: There’s an exception to every rule

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Ukraine declares heavy weapons pullback from front line

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    NASA craft circling Ceres in first visit to dwarf planet

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Got sun? Indoor herbs can thrive on windowsills

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

     
    How can we know that the products we buy for our homes are safe?

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Quick home improvements that raise your resale value

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Spring-clean your kitchen in five easy steps

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

    PSAs highlight area nonprofits

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B6

     
    Peripheral neuropathy support offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

    Workshop eyes creating peace through creative play

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

     
    Museum brick sales to end this month

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

     
    Cabrillo Club plans membership dinner

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6

    Dryers: Homes’ energy guzzlers just got greener

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

     
    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

    UCD improving farming, food production with fewer pesticides

    By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    Waldorf’s spring tea party doubles as open house

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Register online for Woodland rec classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Older adults will discuss conscious aging movement

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7Comments are off for this post

    St. John’s shows off cuisine at brunch

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    Seniors serious about fitness

    By Savannah Holmes | From Page: A11 | Gallery

    Pig out at Pig Day Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

     
    Porkers on display at Hattie Weber Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    .

    Forum

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

     
    Some convicts don’t deserve parole hearings

    By Tom Elias | From Page: B4

    Here’s how to make college cheaper

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B4

     
    Obama’s world is a dangerous place

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

    Dirty laundry on the company line

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B9

     
    .

    Sports

    Blue Devil volleyballers cruise in home opener

    By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    DHS girls track and field team reloads for 2015

    By Dylan Lee | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD women fall at UCR

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Aggie men clinch Big West crown

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Marsh provides radio images of a ‘magical’ Aggie hoops season

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Bella Vista slips past DHS softballers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12

    .

    Features

    What’s happening

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: B5

     
    Rec Report: Looking ahead to spring break

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: B5

     
    Wineaux: A local diamond in the rough, revisited

    By Susan Leonardi | From Page: A9

    .

    Arts

    Steve Kiser’s work on display at Gallery 1855

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Tables available at Vinyl and Music Fair

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

    ‘The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel': Second-rate

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A10 | Gallery

     
    Learn from experts at ‘Art of Painting’ conference

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    Tom Brousseau to visit ‘Live in the Loam’ on KDRT

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

     
    ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ auditions set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

    Hugh Masekela and Vusi Mahlasela celebrate Mandela’s legacy

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Honey, we shrank the SUV — and Europe loves it

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, March 6, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B10