District customers have until the end of a public hearing on October 24 to protest the increase.
According to regulations in Proposition 218 which sets how a public water district can apply a rate increase, more than half of the SLV Water District’s 7,300 customers must protest the increase in writing for it to be denied.
The district will hold an open house explaining the increase from 7 to 9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 10 at Highland’s Park Senior Center, 8500 Highway in Ben Lomond. Then it will hold a Proposition 218 rate increase public hearing at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24 to approve the increase.
Why an increase?
The district mailed information about the increase to customers beginning Friday, Sept. 6. The information can also be found at the district’s website, www.slvwd.com. In the pamphlet, the district says the increase is needed to adequately fund operations, maintenance, capital replacement expenditures and meet debt obligations. The district will replace aging water tanks, continue watershed and fisheries management projects and provide some emergency services.
Additionally, the increase will fund projects included in its 2010 Capital Improvement Program, including an oft-discussed administrative campus project with a $6 million price tag. The campus project would consolidate the district’s services to a single location in downtown Boulder Creek, where currently there are three separate facilities the district uses. District reports say the consolidation to the new facility would improve efficiency, provide a meeting room in Boulder Creek, and provide a 24-hour fueling station while centralizing its operations. The district has already purchased the land for the project for $2.2 million.
What will the increase cost you?
The district says the current bi-monthly water bill for an average residential customer is $90.99, billed once every two months. With the increase implemented each year, the bill would increase to $105.97 every two months in 2014, $119.73 in 2015, $129.90 in 2016, $141.01 in 2017 and $153.02 in 2018. For more details on the rate structure, visit www.slvwd.com.
How to oppose it
Written and signed protests of property owners that include the writer’s address and/or assessor’s parcel number must be submitted to the district by the end of the public hearing on October 24. The letters may be mailed or delivered to the district at 13060 Highway 9, Boulder Creek, CA 95006.
Opposition pops up
A group of citizens from the Zayante area has dug into the finances of the district and completed an analysis of the rate increase. Their analysis can be found at their website www.slvwd.co or by way of their Facebook page, San Lorenzo Valley Watchdogs. The group opposes the rate increase due to the inclusion of the administrative campus project and the way the district has interacted and communicated with the public.