By Brandon HENSLEY
Crescenta Valley Water District customers will likely have their rates increased soon, and the Sept. 30 CV Town Council meeting was the place for residents to voice their concerns.
Inside the La Crescenta Library community room, Dennis Erdman, general manager for CVWD, spoke to the audience and said an average increase of about 8.5% will be asked of the board of directors on Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. There will be a public hearing on that date when residents are encouraged to voice any concerns they may have.
The reasons to raise rates are many. Increased costs to import water from Foothill Municipal Water District and a shortage of a local well due to contamination were both factors, said Erdman.
Another factor is the costs CVWD accrued during last year’s Station Fire. Erdman said the district paid almost $300,000 in labor, damages and repairs.
Ironically, because customers have also conserved water at a better rate over the past year, sales for the district have been reduced.
“It’s a very difficult position for the industry to be in,” said Erdman. “All of the water agencies who are situated like we are and have done the same things, and whose communities have been successful, are in the same boat today. We are all going out to ask our constituents and our customers to pay more.”
Resident Harry Leon asked if any of this could have been avoided. Erdman said despite staff layoffs and reduced electricity costs, there are simply too many uncontrolled costs.
“We’re in the unenviable position of having to push these rates on through to the customers,” he said.
Erdman said these increases could go down, depending on the economy. “The district has had a history of reducing rates, when the economic situation calls for it, particularly on the sewer side,” he said.
The 8.5% increase would go toward customers who use an average of 22,000 gallons during the two-month billing cycle. Rates of around 2.5 percent would increase for customers who use less.
There would still be fixed charges, and councilmember Kim Mattersteig voiced her concern about everyone being charged when some are using more water than others, and raised the possibilities of a fine.
“What’s happening now is that other people are over consuming and the rest of us are being conservative, and we’re all being penalized for their careless [usage],” Mattersteig said.
“There may come a time where we need to take a stronger approach,” responded Erdman.
“My encouragement would be this is the time,” replied Mattersteig.
Before the water discussion, Larry Hensley and Frank Moreno from L.A. County Parks and Recreation announced a community meeting on Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Library to solicit input and ideas for multi-use trails in La Crescenta, including surrounding areas to Two-Strike Park.
On behalf of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course Committee, Karen Zimmerman was there to announce a meeting regarding the current status of the golf course and its developmental future. That will take place on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. at the North Valley City Hall Auditorium in Tujunga.
Councilmember Danette Erickson reminded residents about the upcoming November elections for spots on the Town Council. Applications must received by Oct. 17. There will be a candidate forum on Oct. 21 at the Library.
The CVTC Annual Pancake Breakfast will held Oct. 23 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tickets are $5. The breakfast supports local non-profit organizations and the CVTC scholarship program. For more information about the breakfast and the elections, visit www.thecvcouncil.com.