The Coast News Group

Water district asks for input on proposed rate increases

RANCHO SANTA FE — At the Oct. 21 meeting of the Santa Fe Irrigation District, officials asked for public comment regarding a proposed raise in rates of a total of 36 percent over the next three years.
Kim Johnson, executive assistant at the district, said the board took 12 comments from the public about the raise and said the discussion was not heated.
“They were just upset and concerned with the current economy and another increase,” she said.
No action was taken at the meeting and the issue was tabled until the next meeting of the board set for Nov. 18.
The district provides all the water for Rancho Santa Fe and some of Solana Beach.
Johnson said the decision to raise the rates is not the fault of the district.
“The cost of our water that we purchase wholesale from the San Diego County Water Authority, the costs to us are increasing over 12 percent,” she said. “All the member agencies are dealing with their increase.”
She said the average user’s water bill of about $200 will increase by about $66 at the end of three years.
Johnson said the district is trying to hold the line on expenses, one way is by putting off $6 million in capital expenses until next year.
“We have tightened our belt to the point of eliminating some positions and not filling vacancies. We are making do with what we have,” she said.
The raises would be implemented by 12 percent increases for three years and the first could go into effect on Jan. 1.
The public is welcome to attend the next meeting, but the public comment portion of the issue is closed, she said.