Notice of Public Hearing Regarding Proposed Utility Services Rate Adjustments

UPDATE…..September 9, 2015

City Approves Utility Rate Increase

City Council unanimously approved a proposal at their September 8th City Council Meeting that would raise utility rates for the next five years as a result of stricter state regulations and aging infrastructure.

The increase in utilities was necessary in order to cover the $20 million needed to be in compliance with new California regulations for chromium-6 in water source. The State’s maximum was 50 parts per billion and was dropped to 10 parts per billion in July of 2014.  The Federal maximum remains at 100 parts per billion.

The utility rates will take into effect in January of 2016.

Public Hearing
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Meeting begins at 6:30 p.m.
City Council Chambers
275 Main Street, 4th Floor

Notice – Proposed Rates

Each year the City of Watsonville Public Works & Utilities Department evaluates service needs, State mandated programs and operational costs before recommending rate changes. Typically, utility rates are adjusted annually to account for increases in the cost of electricity, natural gas, chemicals, gasoline and other operational costs and improvements.  Currently, aging water pipelines and new State drinking water regulations are also posing financial challenges to our community’s water system.

You can download the Notice here with the proposed rate adjustments for City Utility Services: Water, Sanitary Sewer and Solid Waste.

In 2014, California became the first state to set a drinking water regulation specifically for chromium-6. Our Water Division is working hard to meet the new standard as quickly and economically as possible. However, a $20Million mandated project like this is ten times the regular annual water project expenses. The only feasible way to fund this would be a combination of low interest loans, grants and customer rates. Additionally, our aging infrastructure is creating costly maintenance issues and frequent service disruptions. Watsonville is taking a proactive approach to reduce this cost and disruption with our Water Main Replacement Plan.

The City is proposing rate adjustments for its water, sewer and solid waste utilities. These rate changes are necessary to meet debt service obligations, increased operational costs, and State regulatory requirements and to maintain the current level of service. Even with these changes, City residential utility customers will continue to have the lowest overall utility rates in the county.

At the September 8th public hearing, customers who receive utility services provided by the City will have the opportunity to provide input to the City regarding proposed rate changes. An agenda and staff report for the September 8th meeting for this item will be available by September 6th at council/city-council-meetings-2015.

City Utility Customers may provide comments to the City Clerk regarding the proposed rate adjustments prior to the public hearing. If customers object to the proposed adjustments in the monthly service charges, they may file a written protest with the City Clerk at, or before, the time set for the public hearing.

A valid protest must contain:

  • A description of the property (such as address) that is sufficient to identify the property.
  • Written evidence that signer(s) is/are the customer of record for the account (provide copy of utility bill)
  • Only one protest per account will be counted.

Comments and/or protests can be mailed to: City Clerk, City of Watsonville, 250 Main Street, Watsonville, CA 95076  If a majority of utility customers file written protests, the proposed rate changes will not be put into place. If you have

any questions regarding this notice, please call (831) 768-3100 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 15th, 2015 at 9:04 am and is filed under City Manager, City of Watsonville, Homepage News, Public Works . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.