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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on July 31st, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 21 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 21

Lompoc officials talk potential water rate increases

BY AMY ASMAN

Article Download: web content.new briefs.water rate chart.8-1.pdf

Water and motorsports make a bit of an odd couple, but that’s what’s on the agenda at the Lompoc City Council meeting on Aug. 6.

There will be two public hearings at the meeting: One will focus on whether the city should apply for state grants for a motorsports park and create a memorandum of understanding for phase one of the project. The other will discuss proposed water rate increases for city residents.

For more information about the motorsports park, check out this week’s sports story.

As for the water issue, if there isn’t a majority vote from residents protesting the rate increases, the council is expected to approve the changes.

According to a report by city staffers, the rate increases are needed to pay for infrastructure repair and maintenance and to meet bond debt obligations tied to the city’s new state-mandated water treatment plant.

Mayor John Linn said some of the money will be used to replace cast-iron water lines that were placed in the ground in 1909.

“We know where the trouble lines are,” Linn said, adding that some of the old lines ruptured three times over the last several years.

He said one of the ruptures cost the city a quarter of a million dollars.

If approved by the council, water and sewage rates for 2013 will increase by 15 percent and 21 percent, respectively. The council would then vote each year until 2017 whether to increase the rates by the same percentages. According to data provided by the city, the rates would differ depending on how much water the resident uses.

In 2013, low users would go from $56.36 for 400 cubic feet of water to $68.77. Average users would go from $95.18 for 1,000 cubic feet of water to $108.37. There are also estimates for winter and summer usage costs.

For complete rate estimates through 2017, view the PDF.

Not everyone is in favor of the rate increases. Lompoc resident Justin Ruhge recently sent e-mails to local media calling on ratepayers to vote against the rate increase.

“The city is planning to sneak this by you by demanding that you send in a mail no vote if you are against this increase,” Ruhge wrote. “Everyone in the city on water meters got a notice of these changes in the mail, all 9,268 of you. Just how many of you read this notice? Not many.”

Linn said the write-in process is determined by the state under Proposition 218 and has nothing to do with the council.

Written letters opposing the rate increases must delivered to the City Clerk at 100 Civic Center Plaza in Lompoc or mailed to City Clerk, City of Lompoc, P.O. Box 8001 by Aug. 6.

 

Article Download: web content.new briefs.water rate chart.8-1.pdf