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Board approves Crescenta Valley sewer rate hike

September 19, 2012|By Mark Kellam, mark.kellam@latimes.com

The Crescenta Valley Water District Board on Tuesday voted 4-1 to implement two sewer rate hikes, which combined will increase rates more than 16% by July 2013.

An 8.2% increase will kick in on Oct. 1, followed by an 8.4% hike on July 1, 2013.

The board is expected to discuss a separate water rate hike, which could be as high as 8.9%, during the early part of next year.

Crescenta Valley customers currently pay a flat monthly wastewater rate that will rise to $32.25 once the two increases are implemented.

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Utility officials said the additional revenues are needed to cover anticipated increases in what they pay to the Los Angeles Sanitation Department for wastewater treatment. Costs are expected to increase 39% this fiscal year alone.

But board member Judy Tejeda voted against the hikes, saying she would support one increase, but couldn’t vote for two within a year of each other.

Board member James Bodnar pointed out that without the rate increases, the district would have to dip further into its reserve fund. District officials are already taking about $150,000 out of the utility’s $3 million in reserve to help close a $300,000 sewer funding gap for this fiscal year.

The rate increases will generate the remaining $150,000.

Officials have said they do not want to go below $2.3 million in the utility’s reserve fund because that is money that would be needed in the event of an emergency.

But Tejeda said the district should look at reducing expenses as an alternative to making customers pay more.

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Follow Mark Kellam on Twitter: @LAMarkKellam

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