The Rainbow Municipal Water District adjusted its water and sewer rates.
A 5-0 board vote Feb. 26 set April 1 as the date for an increase of $0.03 per unit beyond the first six units (one unit equates to 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons) and a five percent increase in the monthly operations and maintenance charge. The district also terminated its reservoir upgrade fee.
The increase in water rates is expected to generate an additional $240,000 while the increase in the operations and maintenance charge is expected to add $165,000 to the district’s revenues. “The costs of the goods and services that we buy have gone up considerably,” said Dave Seymour, who retired as Rainbow’s general manager four days after the effective date. “We’re just trying to offset these costs.”
Other than passing on rate increases from the San Diego County Water Authority, the increased commodity costs were Rainbow’s first since 2009. “We’re trying to control costs as much as we can,” Seymour said.
The district’s December 2012 newsletter gave customers the required 45-day notice of the February 26 public hearing to increase rates. The district also assumed rate increases when it adopted its 2012-13 operating budget.
The rate of $2.95 per unit for the first six units is unchanged while the rate for units beyond those six was increased from $3.00 to $3.03. Properties utilizing the Standard Agricultural Water Rate had been paying $2.72 per unit and will now be paying $2.75.
The monthly operations and maintenance charge increased from $25.71 to $27.00 for 5/8″ meters, from $32.14 to $33.75 for 3/4″ meters, from $41.78 to $43.90 for 1-inch meters, from $64.28 to $67.50 for 1 1/2-inch meters, from $112.48 to $118.15 for two-inch meters, from $192.83 to $202.55 for three-inch meters, from $321.39 to $337.60 for four-inch meters, and from $546.36 to $573.90 for six-inch meters.
The reservoir upgrade fee had been implemented two years ago to fund upgrades mandated by state and federal regulations. The charge was used to fund the planning, design, construction, and other related costs to bring the uncovered drinking water reservoirs into compliance with current health standards.
Because the State Water Resources Control Board gave the Rainbow district a low-interest State Revolving Fund loan, the reservoir upgrade charge is no longer necessary. The fee had generated $1,230,000 annually and was $9.10 per month for 5/8″ meters, $11.37 per month for 3/4″ meters, and $14.79 per month for meters larger than 3/4″.
The Rainbow Municipal Water District had also provided public notice about a potential sewer rate increase, but the City of Oceanside subsequently notified Rainbow staff about a reduction in Oceanside’s charge to the Rainbow district for sewage treatment. That reduced cost allows Rainbow to defer a sewer rate increase.
A separate 5-0 vote Feb. 26 set a May 28 hearing date to determine water availability charges for Improvement District No. 1.