Vallecitos Board of Directors Denies Proposed Rate Increases
Votes 3 to 2 to Pass-Through a Portion of the Wholesale Water Increase Only
San Marcos, CA — On Wednesday, September 21, 2016, the Vallecitos Board of Directors did not approve the proposed rate increases. Instead the Board voted to keep the current rate structure and to limit water rate increases to half of the current increase in wholesale water rates to be effective January 1, 2017. There will be no change to the ready-to-serve charge, pumping charge or the sewer service charge. The wholesale water rate pass through will equate to a $0.46 cent per unit increase ($5.52 for the average single family user per month). The average single family uses 12 units of water per month. One unit of water is 748 gallons.
A Notice of Public Hearing was mailed to all account holders of the Vallecitos Water District in accordance with Proposition 218 notice requirements. The notice advised District customers of the Public Hearing on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, and of proposed changes to the water rate structure, water commodity rates, ready-to-serve and sewer service charges. Proposed rate changes in the 218 Notice were based on recommendations from a Cost of Service Study (COSS) prepared by consultants Black & Veatch. The Board of Directors considered written protests in response to the 218 Notice and heard public comment from interested parties.
Over the years, the Board of Directors and staff have worked diligently to reduce expenses, thereby minimizing the need for large rate increases. Starting in fiscal year 2013 and extending through 2019, employee concessions result in savings of approximately $1.3 million. Additionally, the District refinanced bonds in July 2015, saving $3.4 million over the life of the bonds. Further, the District agreed to purchase less expensive water from the Olivenhain Municipal Water District saving $201,000 since October of 2015. Finally, in the current budget, the District cut and deferred $4.1 million from the Proposed Budget.