Encinitas approves water rate increase; most customers face 9 percent hike
*note the dirty trick tactic the city used.
By: ADAM KAYE - Staff Writer
ENCINITAS -- The Encinitas City Council approved 9 percent increases Wednesday to the meter charges and usage rates for most of the San Dieguito Water District's 11,500 accounts.
Also Wednesday, the council listened to comments from an overflow crowd about a pending housing plan. Mayor Christy Guerin announced that a council decision on the plan would be postponed until Dec. 13.
Acting as the water district's board of directors, the council voted 5-0 to approve the rate increase.
*The increase came over objections from a resident who said a notice informing ratepayers of their right to protest did not make that point clearly.
Encinitas activist Kevin Cummins told the council that the notice the city mailed to ratepayers did not state that written protests submitted by a majority of the district's customers could have halted the rate increase. Ratepayers received the notice about six weeks ago.
"(Property owners) have the power to say no," Cummins said.
The mailed notice, which was included with the council's agenda, states that the water board would "hear and consider all protests" at Wednesday's meeting.
"It doesn't say that we can turn in letters," Cummins said.
Bill O'Donnell, a senior engineer for the water district, told the council that just one ratepayer had mailed a letter objecting to the rate increase.
Had the city's mailed notice informed ratepayers of their right to challenge the rate hike, "I bet you would have got more than one (letter)," Cummins said.
He added that a notice that the city of Poway mailed to ratepayers clearly informed them of their right to oppose a water rate increase in that city. Proposition 218 requires written notices of rate increases.
"We're extraordinarily careful to make sure we comply (with Prop. 218)," said Encinitas Councilman James Bond, serving as the water board's president.
Bond added that the increase completes the third of three scheduled rate hikes originally approved in 2005. Before then, the previous increase was in 1995.
To read the rest of this story click on the link at the top of the post.
Connecting the dots here is story from the San Diego Union Tribune, Lake Hodges too dirty, water authorities say
McCollom said his district is concerned about the urban runoff, algae, high carbon content, bromine and silt that end up in Lake Hodges.
“Probably urban runoff is the biggest problem,” he said.
We are now seeing how fragile the North County infrastructure really is.