CALIFORNIA CITY – The California City Council voted to look into doing a rate study concerning the cost of providing water and sewer to residents.
“The last one was done in 2010,” said Public Works Director Mike Bevins at Tuesday night’s meeting. “At that time, a water conservation tier system was adopted, and a rate increase was approved. Since that time, the increase has not kept pace with expenses.”
Because of that, the Council voted to have a “Water Rate Study Engineering Report” done, with a possible option for a sewer rate study. The Council has set a maximum of $50,000 for the study.
City Manager Tom Weil will issue an RFP (request for proposals) for July 20, 2013, and all submittals would be due by Aug. 23. It’s hoped that any increases would be finalized before the end of the fiscal year.
Bevins reported the water fund budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year currently shows a negative balance of $1,394,729 at the end of the year.
“A review of the budgets indicates the water revenues are not sufficient to cover our expenses,” he said. “And that doesn’t include replacement needs.”
Local resident Al Hutson questioned why the City should pay to do the report when it already knows how much it needs to balance the ledgers.
“It seems a waste to have a consultant tell us what we already know,” he said.
City Attorney Christian Bettenhausen said it is required by law to do the study.
“Prop 218 requires a study to show that the expenses justify any rate increase,” he said. “After the Council decides what those increases would be, public hearings are held so everyone can voice their opinions.”
Bevins said its hoped both a water and sewer study could be done at the same time to save time and money.
“This way we could know all our options and do both hearings at the same Council meeting,” he said.
In other business, the Council approved adopting a MOU (memorandum of understanding) with Kern Council of Governments to work on a study for energy use and related emission studies. The Kern Region Energy Action Plans Programs, which is funded by Southern California Edison, offers to help cities develop a plan to address these needs. It also looks into strategies for local governments to be in compliance with AB32. That bill checks how cities are working to bring down greenhouse gas emissions.
The City will be allotted up to $13,000 by KernCOG for City Staff to work on the preparation of the study.
The Council also approved applying for a grant to build a sidewalk on the south side of California City Boulevard from Conklin Boulevard, leading to Scout Island Drive. The cost to the City would be $10,000
The Council also welcomed a new member to the police department. Police Chief swore in Jennifer Tran as the City’s 18th officer on the force at the beginning of the meeting.