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Cambria residents will see water rate increases in July 

The Cambria Community Services District approved water, sustainable water facility, and sewer rate increases at its most recent meeting; the new rates go into effect on July 1.

The board—with the exception of district board trustee Harry Farmer, who abstained—approved raising water rates by 10 percent, water facility fees by 14 percent, and sewer rates by 15 percent.

click to enlarge RESOURCES In order to maintain the Sustainable Water Facility and eventually transition it from emergency use to two months per year use, Cambria residents will experience a water rate increase. - FILE PHOTO BY JAYSON MELLOM
  • File Photo By Jayson Mellom
  • RESOURCES In order to maintain the Sustainable Water Facility and eventually transition it from emergency use to two months per year use, Cambria residents will experience a water rate increase.

During public comment, residents expressed their frustration with the district for the rate hikes and for having to pay for a water facility that's been shut off since 2017.

District board President David Pierson said the rate study and finance committees have stated that there is a need to boost the revenue coming from those rates.

"This rate increase that we're going to vote on here shortly is necessary for us to continue on with what we're trying to do—fixing the wastewater, and preserve the emergency water supply until it becomes the sustainable water facility," Pierson said.

The extra funds will go toward the annual costs of operating and maintaining the district's water and sewer systems and support capital improvements primarily needed to repair, replace, and/or upgrade aging infrastructure.

The residential monthly water rate will go from $15.86 to $17.45 on July 1, 2019, and $18.32 on July 2020. The sustainable water facility rates will go from $7.93 to $9.04 on July 1, and then $10.13 next July. The sewer rate will increase from $35.74 to $41.10 this July and $46.03 in July 2020.

According to a staff report, the water rate increases are designed to phase in capital improvement funding to an annual level of $700,000 over three years; the sewer rate increases will be used to phase in capital improvement funding to an annual level of $800,000 over three years; and the water facility rates will help restore balanced budgets, assuming the facility is in operation for two months of each year on average.

Paavo Ogren, interim Community Services District general manager, said that aside from assuring that operation and maintenance costs are covered, the district still needs to pay off the debt of the sustainable water facility, which is another reason the increases are necessary.

"That is the component of the [legal contract], which I would say tightened the noose really tight because if the unfortunate situation ever developed where you actually had to use your ... property taxes, then the impacts on fire and facilities and other general fund operations that are funded by property taxes, they would be significantly impacted," Ogren said. Δ

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