Hearing on tap for SV water rate hike
by Press-Banner staff
Feb 04, 2010 | 1710 views | 5 5 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Directors of the Scotts Valley Water District will vote on a proposed water rate increase after hearing from the public next week.

The rate change is aimed at maintaining the water system’s pipes, pumps and wells in Scotts Valley. People can ask questions and comment during a meeting Thursday, Feb. 11, at the city’s community center.

If approved as proposed, the increase will hit hardest for the customers who use the most water.

The three-tiered rate increase would take effect Feb. 15 and Dec. 15 of this year and Dec. 15, 2011.

In 2010, District Manager Charlie McNiesh said, 69 percent of customers in Scotts Valley would see no change in their water bills, while the highest-volume water users (6 percent of customers) would be hit with a 10 percent to 12 percent water bill increase during the months when the most water is used.

“The increases really don’t affect the majority of Scotts Valley water users,” said Chris Perri, the board president.

The following year, in 2011, 51 percent of customers would see no change in their water bills, and 5 percent of customers would see the biggest impact, a rate increase between 5 percent and 8 percent during the month with heaviest usage. The 2012 increase would be roughly the same as in 2011.

The proposed increase allows an exception for commercial and industrial customers that have implemented water-conservation measures, like low-flow toilets and energy-conserving washing machines.

Such a customer — a Laundromat, say — can apply for a flat-rate commodity charge on its water if it has water conservation measures in place.

“It seemed unfair to our customers to have to pay high rates because of the type of business that does what it can to (conserve water),” McNiesh said.

The district estimates that 15 to 20 customers could benefit from the provision.

The rate increase will not be used to hire new employees, directors say, though the district is already operating down one field-crew employee — a position that was frozen to save money.

“We run the district as economically as possible,” Cris Perri, the board president, said.

McNiesh acknowledged that district employees earn good benefits, but he said district management did not receive a salary increase in the past year, and staff members received only minimal cost-of-living allowance increases. All future employees will bear some of their health care costs, a change from years past.

He said money from the water rate increase will not pay for employee compensation.
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Bustichi BCI
February 06, 2010
Elect a builder to the City Council and what do you expect to see other than development, development, development. I wounder if places like Campbell started out like Scotts Valley
Another Question
February 06, 2010
Has SV Water EVER gone to a City Council meeting and said they don't have enought water for more building?? Cambria, Calif has a waiting list for new meters and it might take years to get one. Until SVW does this it just seems to be the same old scam. Use less water so that we make less money so that we can raise rates to makeup for you using less water.
Last splash
February 05, 2010
They just keep building and building more and more high-density housing and want you to use less and less so there can be some for the new people. Stop over building. There's plenty of water just too many people.
Hugh Jass
February 04, 2010
They keep asking for more money but the water quality is historically horrible. Scotts Valley water ranks just a couple points lower than piss for bacteria and contaminants. I have to scrape my granite shower with a razor blade to get all the lime scale off ... If I have to pay more ... Then make it better than it's been since the 70s!
Cost of Living?
February 04, 2010
McNiesh acknowledged that district employees earn good benefits, but he said district management did not receive a salary increase in the past year, and staff members received only minimal cost-of-living allowance increases.

Funny how they got cost of living allowances in a year that saw deflation not inflation. What was the justification for the increase?

Most the rest of us were just happy if we got to keep our jobs. This is not the time for City bureaucrats to be increasing rates!

And why are some businesses getting special rate preferences over homeowners. If your going to give discounted rates to businesses with water conservation measures how about offering homeowners lower rates if they have low flush rate toilets.

Your practices seem a bit unfair to larger families.

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