Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Water rate initiative swept into June ballot

By
From page A1 | February 12, 2014 |

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, the Davis City Council moved quickly to place an initiative on the June 3 ballot that will ask voters to assess the fairness of the city’s water rates.

The rates are scheduled to triple over the next five years to help pay for the joint Woodland-Davis surface water project. They bill ratepayers not only for the water they use but also charge a consumption-based fixed rate to pay for the project’s infrastructure.

Proponents say the rates are designed to place the biggest burden on high water users while encouraging all users to conserve. Critics say they unfairly charge users a premium for their summer water use.

Problem: If voters approve the water rate initiative, the rates will have to be reworked, bond funding for the project could be compromised and the fiscal structure needed to operate the water project would be in doubt.

Ironically, supporters of the water project urged the council to put the initiative on the crowded June 3 ballot precisely for bond financing reasons. The council had the option of waiting until 2016 to put the measure up for a vote.

“This petition took away a lot of hard work that a lot of people did (on Measure I),” water project supporter Jane Runquist said, referring to the March 2013 ballot measure that approved the water project, but not specifically the rates.

Water rate opponents — absent from voicing their side at the meeting — have said the initiative offers all residents a chance to approve the rates, not just property owners, who are the only ones allowed to vote in the Proposition 218 rate-setting process. Renters could vote on costs that affect their rent, water rate opponents say.

Elaine Roberts Musser, another water project supporter and chairwoman of the city’s Water Advisory Committee, said the council faced a difficult choice.

“I don’t think there’s a good decision here,” she said. “Someone’s going to find fault with it.”

City Council candidate Robb Davis was blunt.

“You have to put this on the ballot,” he said, adding that he believes a certain part of the community is actively trying to torpedo the water project by pushing to get the initiative passed. “I think you just have to step up and put it on the ballot.”

With no wide disagreement on the council about the need to place the measure on the June 3 ballot, Mayor Joe Krovoza seemed to find a way to intercept the torpedo.

He asked City Attorney Harriet Steiner what would happen if lower-cost bond financing came through for the project between now and Election Day and the city could lower the current rates to reflect that.

Steiner said as long as the methodology of structuring the rates stays the same, the city could reduce the rates and seemingly make the initiative moot.

Then, declaring the initiative process played out, the council voted 5-0 to send the initiative to the ballot.

— Reach Dave Ryan at dryan@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @davewritesnews

Comments

comments

.

News

Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
California extends review of $25B delta plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Equestrian eventing competition slated

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Forum explores local mental health services

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

 
Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Free blood pressure screenings offered

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

 
Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Forum

Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

 
Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

What if we need MRAP?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

 
How could tank be helpful?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

Don’t sentence our police to death

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

 
Will Davis see river water?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

Travel buddy is getting too fat

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
.

Sports

Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils scrimmage with Sac

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
.

Features

.

Arts

‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

.

Business

Technology makes a great car better

By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Margarita Elizondo

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Elaine Dracia Greenberg

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics