Urges protesting fee increase

To the Editor:

The city of Ridgecrest just recently voted to have a Prop 218 hearing to create the largest fee increase in the 50-year history of Ridgecrest. In just four years sewer fees for a single-family residence will be 300 percent more than current fees ($10 per month to $30.60 per month). Multiple-family housing fees will be even more than 300 percent higher. All this was done by the city council without being vetted by the city’s Infrastructure Committee. The city has known for several years that the sewer plant needed major repair or replacement. The city has also known for several years that many sewer lines are nearing their end of life. Why did this become an emergency just one day prior to the deadline to make the county tax roles? This was an artificially created crisis coming at an economically bad time.

There is little doubt that some local sewer lines need replacing. There is also no doubt that the sewer plant will eventually need replacing. However, it can be done in a planned and orderly manner. The fees can most likely be increased more slowly and to a more modest level. Neither the required yearly increases nor the required total increase will be known until the proper planning is performed.

If you believe the city should not ask for fee increases before it knows the use of the money or when the money is actually needed, I urge you to send a letter protesting the rate increase to the Ridgecrest City Clerk, 100 W. California Ave., Ridgecrest, CA 93555. The letter does not need to be lengthy, but it does need to say you protest the rate increase. The letter needs to state the address of the property or properties and the number of units of each property. The signature of the property owner must be on the letter. Remember, if you do not protest the increase, the assumption is that you support the rate increase.

Stuart H Breil

Story First Published: 2013-05-08