By Jason KUROSU
The Crescenta Valley Water District recently proposed a rate increase for wastewater, set to take effect Oct. 1. The decision to implement the increase will be made in two weeks at the water district’s regular board meeting, said CVWD board director Kerry Erickson. If implemented, a second wastewater increase would also take effect starting July 1, 2013.
The increase will be a $2.25 increase starting in October and a $2.50 increase starting in July 2013, adding up to a monthly sewer service fee of $32.25 for the 2013-14 year. The board noted that this monthly average is lower than the statewide average of $33.82.
At a public hearing during the CV Water District’s bimonthly board meeting on Sept. 4, the district board attributed the rate increase as a result of increases in operating costs for treatment and disposal of wastewater with the city of Los Angeles.
Dennis Erdman, CVWD general manager, discussed the proposed increase before a small group of residents.
“Our contract for the disposal of wastewater in this community is with the city of Los Angeles,” said Erdman, referring to CV’s wastewater disposal sites at the L.A. Glendale Treatment Plant in Glendale and the Hyperion Treatment Plant in Los Angeles. “That contract is what is causing us to look at an increase in rates and why the staff is recommending an increase in rates to the board of directors. The costs from the city of Los Angeles for treatment and disposal have increased significantly over the last couple of years. This year we’re seeing about a $300,000 increase, representing a 39% increase over the last year.”
The rate increases are expected to generate about $150,000 in projected revenue. The projected operating costs for the 2012-13 year are about $300,000. Erdman said the remainder of the costs will be paid for from a sewer reserve fund that totals about $3 million. A two-step approach was adopted for tackling the operating costs, said Erdman, so as to not delve too deep into the district’s emergency reserve funds.
“If we don’t make this adjustment soon, the board could continue to operate, going into the district’s reserves,” said Erdman. “But very soon we would find ourselves being below the target level for our reserves. We have a target level below which we feel it’s not prudent to go because that represents our emergency money in the event that there would be some sort of catastrophe.”
According to the water board, this is the first wastewater rate increase in the area since January of 2009.