Water rates workshop set – July 31

Water rates  workshop set – July 31By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

The Indian Wells Valley Water District will hold a public workshop meeting on July 31 to discuss its latest cost-of-service study. IWVWD directors heard a presentation on the study and new proposed rates during their July 9 meeting.

The proposed rate structure includes lower fixed rates, but an increase in the actual cost of water. This is in part to reward customers who use less water.

Currently the district’s fixed fees account for roughly 66 percent of its revenue stream. The proposed rates would reduce that to 61 percent. Significantly greater reductions often result in budget issues according to Mark Hildebrand of Hildebrand Consulting, who presented the report.

In addition to adjusted rates, an 8-cent-per-hundred-cubic-feet fee will be added to accommodate the IWV Groundwater Authority’s scheduled pumping fee (see related story, this page).

Director Chuck Griffin raised concerns that Tier 4 (the highest residential tier) water users were being fined too severely for their use.

“I’m constantly in the Tier 4 category and get penalized,” he said. “We have people who own animals and do a lot of different things in this valley.”

He continued that it doesn’t seem right for Tier 4 rates to be so high when heavy construction users were being charged less for their water.

In an email to the Water District Board, member of the public Stan Rajtora asserted that the board should have waited until the full report was available to the public and the board before discussing it at the district meeting.

According to General Manager Don Zdeba, the draft report was not available during the Monday meeting, but will be made available three days before the public workshop, but Rajtora said that wasn’t good enough (see related letter to the editor).

“If it wasn’t ready to be released, it should not have been discussed,” he said. “The draft report should have been out prior to the discussion at the water board meeting. There is little-to-no way, short of a crystal ball, the boardmembers could have made an intelligent comment on the proposed new rate structure based upon the brief presented to the board at the meeting.”

The workshop meeting will be 9 a.m. in the District Board Room. For info call 760-384-5502 or visit iwvwd.com.

Story First Published: 2018-07-20