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Water rate outreach meetings start Thursday

Water — it gives us life, and it soothes our soul. Here's a quintessential look at water in Davis, at the fountain in front of Tres Hermanas restaurant at Second and H streets near the train depot and the "Solar Intersections" public art. Fred Gladdis/Enterprise photo

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June 20, 2011 | 1 Comment

The town is buzzing with questions about the likely tripling of water rates by 2016 and, on Thursday, Davis ratepayers will have a chance to get answers at the first in a series of community meetings.

The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Stonegate Country Club, 919 Lake Blvd. in West Davis. Subsequent meetings, each starting at 7 p.m., are planned for:

* June 30: Tandem Properties Building, 3500 Anderson Road, North Davis;

* July 14: Redwood Park Meeting Room, 1001 Anderson Road, Central Davis;

* July 21: Fire Station 33, 425 Mace Blvd., South Davis; and

* July 28: Wildhorse Golf Club Clubhouse, 2323 Rockwell Drive., East Davis.

The city is proposing annual rate hikes over the next five years to fund a surface water project that would pump water from the Sacramento River and eliminate Davis’ reliance on groundwater. Davis has partnered with Woodland on the project. UC Davis also has a small stake.

Davis would pitch in about $160 million on the estimated $325 million project.

That means the average single-family home in Davis that now pays $34.75 a month for water may see their bill rise to $44.89 in 2012, according to city estimates. The monthly amount may rise to $57.50 in 2013, $68.46 in 2014, $81.16 in 2015 and, finally, $96.38 in 2016.

Rates are expected to stabilize after 2017, when the project is slated for completion.

Commercial property owners would pay the same percentage increases as residential ratepayers. Actual rate increases depend on water usage.

The new rates are effective Dec. 1 unless a majority of ratepayers — at least 8,202 of Davis’ 16,402 ratepayers — submit a formal protest to the city by Sept. 6.

Before the city can adopt the new fees, Proposition 218 
requires noticing, which 
gives ratepayers an opportunity to voice their opinion on the higher rates. If the city receives a majority protest, it cannot impose the new fees.

Details on how to protest are included in the Proposition 218 notices, which should be landing in mailboxes within the next couple of weeks.

Project leaders, which include City Council members from Davis and Woodland, say the cities’ groundwater resource is unsustainable in terms of quality, supply and compliance with state and federal regulations. Others argue that the city should fight the 
requirements or postpone the project, given the high cost of water projects and the bad economic times.

— Reach Crystal Lee at clee@davisenterprise.net or (530) 747-8057.

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Discussion | 1 comment

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  • iquitosJune 21, 2011 - 7:20 pm

    There was a mailer the city sent out recently with the heading "Water Rates." It's essentially making the case that the project is necessary. Anyone know if this is supposed to be the 218 notification? If so, it does not have the information required to file a protest. Instead, it directs you to the public works website. If there are instructions there it's very well hidden. By design, just maybe?

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