Grover Beach proposes water rate increase

March 19, 2012

Grover Beach officials are proposing a 10 percent water rate increase to make up for a budget shortfall partially caused by a loan defaulted on by the city’s now defunct redevelopment agency. [Tribune]

In an attempt to close an estimated $196,186 deficit in the water fund budget city officials had planned to cover through the repaying of $900,000 the water fund had lent its redevelopment agency, city leaders are proposing a cost increase that would leave customers using between 20 to 25 units of water paying $7.79 more every billing cycle.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers voted to close redevelopment agencies throughout California in order to help balance the budget. Meanwhile, Grover Beach customers have become more frugal with their water usage leaving the city falling behind on its estimated water sales.

If passed, the proposed the water rate increase will be the third customers will have been given in less then two years. Following a July 2010 city council vote, the city raised its water rates by 15 percent in August 2010 and another 15 percent in March 2011.

In addition to the suggested water rate increase, city officials are also proposing an additional fee to customers of $4.55 per month to cover the cost of developing a state mandated storm drainage system.

In order to halt the proposed increases, at least half the city’s 4,800 water account holders would need to submit a written objection before or during the city council meeting scheduled for 630 p.m. tonight at City Hall.

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Here is a reality check for the Grover Beach Officials. Last time I checked it is not legal to take enterprise funds to fund a General Fund Project! Water and sewer rates under state law are to pay for facilities, maintenance and operations directly related to the service provided. So, I will assume that the loan to the Redevelopment Agency had some basis in water and sewer rates, if not then you should have some explaining to the PUC? Secondly, here we go again, incompetent City officials poorly manage and handle City funds, so to close the gap caused by utter and sure incompetency lets just raise the rates on the little guy. Here is my proposal, cut the pay of every top level manager at the City to cover the gap of $196,186. Oh that is right, this deficit would be covered in the first year proposed rate increase, so if this is the only factor contributing to the budget shortfall, then why do you need to increase fees in perpetuity – to fund some other looser project?

I say took $200,000 a year from the general fund and repay the water fund. Reduce the salaried of the Council, manager and other idiots that allowed this to happen. This is exactly why the Redevelopement Fund was a shame from the get go. The City of San Diego, Los Angeles, etc. was paying the managers and some staff (police, fire, etc.) their big salaried by transferring from the Redevelopment Fund. This money was misused by most Cities because the politicians they are they use this money to do with as they wish. The concept was good by the human element got in the way. The big wigs owe this money back to the water fund, not the ratepayers…