The Sacramento Utilities Rate Advisory Commission will hold a public hearing Wednesday evening on proposed rate increases of 10 percent for water and 9 percent for wastewater service annually for the next four years.
In early December, the city notified residents of the proposed rate adjustments and the public hearing, including an increase in storm drainage rates. Last week, officials announced that they will postpone a proposed storm drainage rate hike until later this year or early 2017.
City officials opted to delay the storm drainage rate hike because other agencies, such as the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency, will ask Sacramento voters to approve other assessments for related services in the coming months, the city said in a press release. The city will send a new notice when it proposes the stormwater service rate increase again.
Currently, the flat rate for an average residence is $45.73 for water and $22.42 for wastewater service. The combined increases would add $6.59 to the bill in the first year, $7.23 in the second, $7.93 in the third and $8.70 in the fourth, and would go into effect on July 1 if adopted.
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The money from the water rate increase would fund the state-mandated installation of water meters around the city. Current flat-rate customers will receive a comparative bill for the first year after meter installation and start paying the volumetric rate at the end of that year. Some residents already pay for water based on metered use.
The city’s water and wastewater systems have critical investment needs, according to Sacramento officials. If the city had upgraded its infrastructure earlier, the rates would have gone up at that time, said Department of Utilities Director Bill Busath.
“The responsible thing to do is spend money on our infrastructure,” he said. “That we’re in a position where we need such significant rate increases is a function of the fact that we haven’t been spending an adequate amount.”
The city is also responding to federal regulations that require continual upgrades in its combined sewer system and a reduction of sanitary sewer overflows, according to Busath.
The Utilities Rate Advisory Commission will meet Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at 915 I St.