Friday, January 30, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Committee needs more time to recommend water rates

By
From page A1 | June 13, 2014 |

The clock is ticking.

The seven-member Utility Rate Advisory Committee’s running effort to agree on recommended water rates for the City Council to approve in early July is taking longer than the council seemed to think it would.

July is a deadline for the water-rate approval process to be completed by October to qualify the city for low-interest state financing for the surface-water project it is undertaking with Woodland.

On Thursday night, the committee found the track was too long to make it to the finish line without another meeting on June 19. The City Council hoped to have the final recommendations in hand for a June 17 study session. The committee’s new goal is to have a recommendation by June 24.

The committee wrestled with all kinds of issues related to water rates, such as cost per unit and the correct ratio of variable charges to fixed charges. Members even ran the numbers and financing prospects for water rate lawsuit plaintiff John Munn’s suggestion of a totally volumetric rate, in other words, a rate that charged for the entire system gallon by gallon, just like pumping gasoline into your car.

Members determined it to be too expensive for each measurement of water, called a ccf, and because there was no fixed rate, revenue could vary widely depending on usage. The committee agreed that it would be hard for the market to finance such a structure at a good interest rate.

Some issues were patently philosophical, such as what is fairness? What is equity? What is conservation? How important is doing what financing institutions want?

By the end of the evening, committee member Johannes Troost looked at the other issues the group will tackle later in the year, like the contract with Davis Waste Removal for garbage, a sewer rate discussion and electrical services options.

Some of the members had deep knowledge of water rates, Troost said, but the committee would have more of a learning curve when it comes to some other issues. Would a timetable like they were facing for water rates come up again?

“I don’t want to have to make a rushed decision,” he said.

Troost also was the architect of the idea from the committee’s June 5 meeting that it use a matrix to send to the City Council to illustrate the committee’s thoughts on each of seven proposed water rates. The committee started with eight columns of criteria for the seven water rates, but by Thursday night’s end seemed to have 10 columns.

Other members said the committee would have to edit the matrix down, but many members were intent on requesting more information from city staff, represented by Herb Niederberger, general manager of utilities, and consultant Douglas Dove of Bartle Wells and Associates.

Committee members wanted a histogram of the true cost per gallon or unit that ratepayers pay. They wanted a legal analysis of all seven proposed rates, ranging from traditional two-step rates to a pay-as-you-go consumption-based rate with no look-back period.

Committee members wanted to know, once and for all, whether allegations that the consumption-based rate had unfair summer charges versus winter charges are correct.

Chairwoman Elaine Roberts Musser suggested the committee members fill out their own matrices and use them individually to make their recommendations at the June 19 meeting.

— 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

    Town hall focuses on Coordinated Care Initiative

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

     
    Schools give parents tools to help kids thrive

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Suspected Ebola patient being treated at UCD Med Center

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    Stanford University to get $50 million to produce vaccines

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Two more cases of measles in Northern California in children

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Dartmouth bans hard liquor

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

     
    Walkers head out three times weekly

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3Comments are off for this post

    Free tax preparation service begins Monday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    No bare bottoms, thanks to CommuniCare’s Diaper Drive

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Storyteller relies on nature as his subject on Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Still time to purchase tickets for DHS Cabaret

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    All voices welcome at sing-along Wednesday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Great Chefs Program will feature Mulvaney

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

     
    February science fun set at Explorit

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A6 | Gallery

     
    Take a photo tour of Cuba at Flyway Nights talk

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    See wigeons, curlews and meadowlarks at city wetlands

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Forum

    Time for bed … with Grandma

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    A ‘new deal’ for the WPA building

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

    Protect root zone to save trees

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Weigh quality of life, density

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Olive expert joins St. James event

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    We’re grateful for bingo proceeds

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    .

    Sports

    UCD has another tough football schedule in 2015

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Gould’s influence felt mightily in recent Super Bowls

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Mustangs hold off UCD women

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD men set new school D-I era win record

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Sharks double up Ducks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sports briefs: Watney, Woods start slow at TPC Scottsdale

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

    Recall that first Aggie TV game, national title?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘Artist’s Connection’ launches on DCTV

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

     
    ‘Song of the Sea’ is an enchanting fable

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11 | Gallery

     
    Gross’ paintings highlight a slice of Northern California

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

    February show at YoloArts’ Gallery 625 is ‘Food for Thought’

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, January 30, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: A9