Jul 28, 2014

Water, Sewer Rates Likely to Increase $4, $5 per Month

The city council will vote in May whether to raise water rates 12 percent and residential sewer rates 9 percent.

Water, Sewer Rates Likely to Increase $4, $5 per Month

With water and sewer rates regularly increasing over the last few years, more increases are likely to occur again in the near future, according to the city. The city council will consider a $4 per month in water rates and $5 per month in residential sewer rates.

These rate increases are nothing new, as increases have been occurring over the past few years. This particular increase would likely be just one of regular increases in the future due to constantly rising costs of repairing, replacing, and maintaining these critical systems. The cost increases pay directly for the increasing service costs.

The city is hosting a community information meeting on Wednesday, April 4, 7 p.m. at the Public Works Services Building to provide more information about the rate proposals.

To protest these rate increases, residents must submit a written protest by 5 pm, Monday May 7, 2012, to Water/Sewer Rates, City Clerk, City of Redwood City, 1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA 94063, or may be presented to the City Council prior to the close of the Public Hearing that evening.

The increases cannot be approved if more than 50 percent of affected property owners submit a valid written protest. If approved, the rates will begin July 1 of this year.

“As difficult as these rate increases may be, I’m sure you’ll agree that no one wants to turn on their faucet and see it run dry, or experience a sewer line break in their neighborhood,” said city spokesman Malcolm Smith in a statement. “And it’s important to have these systems in a condition to resist damage when the next big earthquake hits.”

Smith added that the city’s rates are similar to or below the average for Peninsula communities.

The city is also working on the following regional and local projects, which are also funded by the rate increases:

Sewer projects:

  • $200 million over the next 10 years for Redwood City’s share of the replacement of outdated facilities at the regional sewage treatment plant
  • $100 million over the next ten years for the repair/replacement of the City’s aging sewer infrastructure

Water projects:

  • $80 million over the next 20 years for the repair, replacement, and maintenance of Redwood City’s drinking water system
  • $10 million annually over the next 30 years for Redwood City’s share of the seismic upgrade of the Hetch Hetchy water system, the sole source of drinking water (in the form of regular and significant increases in the wholesale cost of water) 

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) owns the Hetch Hetchy water system and is raising the cost of water by 10 percent to Redwood City. These annual rate raises can be as high as 38 percent, such as last year.

To avoid these sudden large increases, the city tries to balance these raises by approving more steady, moderate increases every year, typically lower than the Commission’s increases, through its rate stabilization fund.

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