May 17, 2022 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Water Rate Hike Up To 70 Percent Over Five Years:

Water is fast becoming an expensive commodity. Santa Monica residents are in for a sharp increase in their utility bills with a rapid rise in water rates scheduled to combat associated rising costs in water provision.

City Council voted 5-1 late Tuesday evening to adopt City staff’s recommendation of a 13 percent year-on-year rate hike come February 2015. Councilwoman Sue Himmelrich opposed the motion while Councilman Terry O’Day had left chambers prior to the vote.

The rate increase adopted will begin with a nine percent hike in 2015, equitable with the month two implementation date, and will continue with a 13 percent increase each year until 2019.

The increased revenue will be used to provide a self-sufficient Water Fund to combat drought measures and the increasing costs associated with water.

“Due to declining water sales and increased capital funding needs, the City’s cost to provide water service is projected to exceed the City’s water revenues without additional water rate increases,” according to City staff.

Depending on water use, some residents could see bills jump by up to 70 percent over the five-year time span, according to calculations based on forward projections.

“Even with the proposed 13 percent [per year] increase, residential water bills in Santa Monica will be lower than the current average rate of the other communities surveyed,” City staff stated.

While not a “big fan” of the motion, Mayor Pro Tem Tony Vazquez said that he supported the move because of the process.

“It gives us the opportunity to roll back if we have to, and if we go lower I understand that we can’t go up,” Vazquez said. “I’m hoping between now and February the 24th we could brainstorm it a little bit more and hopefully get some more information to come back to us.”

Citing a recent news article that Los Angeles relies too heavily on water carried via aqueducts that could be severed in case of an Earthquake or natural disaster, Mayor Kevin McKeown said that should such a disaster occur, it would take over a year to fix leaving only a six-month supply of water in place, creating a complete economic meltdown. He said that Santa Monica should structure itself to standalone.

“What we’re facing here is a real sobering look at what it costs to truly be free, to be independent,” McKeown said. “Maybe we have to do it. We have local water that we own, that we can pull out of the ground, and if we want to suck it up, we’ve got to suck it up and pay for it.”

After the motion passed, Councilwoman Gleam Davis moved to give direction to City staff to examine making allowances for people of low income, explore caps rather than credits, and investigate the possibility of allowing providers of 100 percent affordable housing projects to use such credits.

Councilman Ted Winterer added that the direction should include examination of the task force recommendation that when the water supply shortage declaration is lifted then the rate structure is revisited to see if there are more effective means to encourage conservation rather than the rate structure.

The directions motion was moved by Councilwoman Davis and seconded by Councilman Winterer. They passed unanimously.

According to City staff, Santa Monica’s current water rate structure is common in California.

“It provides a built in mechanism to support water conservation on a pay for what you use basis,” according to City staff. “It is simple to understand, generally fosters public acceptance, and provides relatively predictable revenues.”

Revenue raised by the increases will contribute to the $33 million needed over five years to fund the City’s water system Capital Improvement Program.

in News
Related Posts

1221 Ocean Avenue Complex Sold For Record Price

May 16, 2022

May 16, 2022

Sold for a record price of $330 million. By Dolores Quintana The Irvine Company has sold 1221 Ocean Avenue to...

Office Construction Is Starting To Rise In Los Angeles

May 15, 2022

May 15, 2022

Property vacancies are still affecting growth.  By Dolores Quintana In March, the Los Angeles Metropolitan area had 3.2 million square...

Santa Monica City Council Selects Doug Sloan as New City Attorney

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

At its meeting this week, the Santa Monica City Council appointed Doug Sloan to serve as Santa Monica’s next City...

Landmark Theater Closing in Former Westside Pavillion

May 12, 2022

May 12, 2022

Theater will close at the end of month By Sam Catanzaro The Landmark Pico theater at the former Westside Pavillion...

Community Policing at the Heart of Beat Four

May 11, 2022

May 11, 2022

The Neighborhood Resource Officer (NRO) Program thrives through community involvement and collective work. Today we hear from Officer Aaron Alpert...

Santa Monica High School Among Top-900 Schools in Country

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

SAMOHI ranked 829 out of over 18,000 total schools By Staff Writer Santa Monica High School is among the top...

Pico Marketplace Changing Small Businesses Access to Retail Space: Santa Monica Beat – May 10th, 2022

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

Local news and culture in under 5 minutes.* Pico Marketplace Changing Small Businesses Access to Retail Space* Grunion Fish Seen...

Video: Westside E-Scooter Injury Rate High Than National Rate for Motorcycles

May 10, 2022

May 10, 2022

The Westside’s injury rate for e-scooters is higher than the national rate for motorcycles, a new study has found. Learn...

Douglas Sloan Set to be Santa Monica’s New City Attorney

May 9, 2022

May 9, 2022

Sloan would be first permanent person to hold post in two years By Dolores Quintana  The next Santa Monica City...

Santa Monica Releases 2022 Homeless Count Results

May 9, 2022

May 9, 2022

Number of unsheltered individuals increases 1 percent in first count since 2020 By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro The City...

Amazon Bringing 1,000 News Jobs to Santa Monica

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

Company signs a lease for a 200,000-square-foot space at the Water Garden  By Dolores Quintana Amazon.com intends to create 2,500...

LA Considering Emblem Program to License Cannabis Stores

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

Program would help Angelenos distinguish between licensed and unlicensed cannabis vendors and safe cannabis products By Dolores Quintana Members of...

Meet SMPD Beat Three Neighborhood Resource Officers

May 6, 2022

May 6, 2022

The Neighborhood Resource Officer (NRO) Program is based around the concept of community policing and collective involvement. Today we met...

McKinley Elementary School Awarded California Pivotal Practice Award

May 5, 2022

May 5, 2022

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has announced that McKinley Elementary in Santa Monica has been awarded the California Department...

UCLA Study Offers Strategy for Freeway Congestion Pricing That Reduces Burden on Low-Income Residents

May 5, 2022

May 5, 2022

Claudia Bustamante/UCLA Newsroom  Among transportation experts, congestion pricing is the gold standard policy for managing traffic on freeways and highways....