By Brandon HENSLEY
The Crescenta Valley Water District approved its budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year during its board meeting Tuesday night, and signs may point to a rate increase for customers.
The district adopted a scenario in which revenues will be based on 5,000 acre-feet of water sold. Projections came out to total revenue at just over $8 million, while expenditures would total just over $8.2 million. Last year the district sold 4,400 acre-feet of water to its customers.
That puts monetary projections for this year in the red, which means a rate increase may be coming. The district said a 10% increase is likely, including a slight raise in the $12.40 per month fixed-charge.
The district held a workshop inside the La Crescenta Library Community Room on July 13 and made a PowerPoint presentation to its board of directors detailing revenue projections and other expense categories.
Budget concerns have been high for some time. CVWD absorbed a 20% rate increase last September, which was approved by Metropolitan Water District, a supplier of Foothill Municipal Water District, which imports to CV. That increase was not passed to CVWD’s customers.
Earlier this month, FMWD approved a budget where it will absorb 75% of Metropolitan’s rate increases.
Customers may still have a say in the potential increase from CVWD. In accordance with Prop. 218, district officials have to notify the public of these types of changes within 45 days, and a vote can be taken whereby if over half the vote is against it, it will not pass, which would then affect CVWD’s budget even further. More information is expected to come on this issue this fall.
On Wednesday, secretary-treasurer Ron Mitchell said keeping costs to a minimum is always on the district’s mind, and while it doesn’t have control over how much it spends on purchased water, it does its best on things it can control.
“The things we can control is how much we’re spending on labor, how much we’re spending on maintenance issues throughout the district,” he said. “I think it’s important to let customers know that we’ve done everything we can to keep expense levels at or below what they have been over the last year.”
The district is aware that customers may sometimes be caught off-guard at news such as rate increases, and on Tuesday the board members talked about reminding the public that all are invited to the board meetings, and specifically encouraged all to come to the budget workshop that was held. Public attendance last week was minimal.
“Historically they show up in the rate meetings, not the budget meetings, every year. The budget doesn’t mean much to them but when it comes to the rate hikes then they come out in force, ” said board president Kathy Ross.
The board also approved its wastewater budget. Projections for that budget are steady with minimal changes to come.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. at the CVWD, 2700 Foothill Blvd.