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Tuesday, July 7, 2015 SWD rate hike meeting planned Serrano Water District has sent

special notices, separate from the normal bill, to all consum- ers regarding a public hearing to consider a proposed water rate increase. The hearing will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 14 at the SWD offices, located at 18021 East Lincoln in Villa Park. The public hearing will address

a proposed rate increase to take place Aug. 1, which entails sev- eral facets: the fixed RTS (Readi- ness to Serve charge) of $32.21 per month will not change, but will include only one unit (or 748 gallons) of water, rather than the five previously included. The rate for potable water may increase by 74 cents per unit, up to $3.75 for 748 gallons. In addition, should the cost of imported water pur- chased from MWDOC increase, or the cost of pumped groundwa-

ter from OCWD increase, those costs may be passed on to cus- tomers. The rate hike may also include an annual inflationary ad- justment over the next five years. The proposed rate increase

comes on the heels of the gover- nor’s edict to reduce water con- sumption during the state’s worst drought in years. SWD customers are mandated to cut water by 36 percent. “Serrano Water District appreciates the efforts that the consumers have been making in their cut-backs,” said General Manager Jerry Vilander. “An out- standing 42 percent decrease was recorded in May. We anticipate that the consumers will continue to conserve in this exemplary manner.” Consumers may also send com-

ments to the district at serranowa-

Foothills Sentry

By Tina Richards Golden State Water (GSW)

stuck fast to the subject of con- servation and restricted use of the resource during a meeting it hosted for customers in North Tu- stin, June 4. Despite numerous audience

questions regarding the private utility’s


rates and annual increases rub- berstamped by the public utilities commission. Ken Vecchiarelli, Golden State’s Orange County district general manager deflect- ed those queries and steered the conversation back to the 36 per- cent decrease in water use man- dated by the state. “If you want to talk about rates,

we’ll have a separate meeting for that,” he said several times to a packed house of Cowan Heights, Lemon Heights and Rocking Horse Ridge customers. “That’s not why we’re here tonight.”

Odds and evens After pointing out that Cowan

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Kim Chaudhry has joined the Villa Park city staff as an administrative analyst. Chaudhry formerly worked in the city offices in Lakewood and Westminster.

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Heights is in the top three – state- wide -- of gallons used per house- hold per day, Vecchiarelli laid the ground rules for voluntary cut- backs. Because outdoor usage accounts for up to 50 percent of a residence’s water use, GSW cus- tomers are being asked to limit irrigation to two days per week. Odd-numbered addresses may water between 7 p.m. and 8 a.m. on Tuesday and Saturday, even-

CFO to boost veteran

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will be transformed into a sea of American flags as part of a fund- raiser to assist active duty military and their families, as well as vet- erans. Gary Remland, president of CFO, said that this “Field of Valor” will bring a lot of groups together in a common effort. CFO is looking for partners,

sponsors and volunteers for what the Orange Field of Valor com- mittee believes will be a pride- filled, patriotic event to be contin- ued for years to come. Those interested in becoming

involved may contact Susie Cun- ningham, CFO executive direc- tor via email: Susie@communi- For more information on the organi- zation, go to communityfounda-

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num be r ed addresses on Wednesday and Sunday. For now, the

rest ri ctions are voluntary. “We don’t want to be water cops,” he said. But if users don’t com- ply, the next stage will involve penalties. In stage two, an addi- tional $2.50 per ccf (748 gallons) will be charged; stage three is $5 and stage four is $10. Those who continue to exceed their baseline (36 percent of 2013 use), may be further penalized with water flow restrictors or have their water turned off. “But we don’t want to do that, “Vecchiarelli empha- sized. Residents asked if swimming

pools were being restricted (no, not yet); if there would be an ap- peal process (yes, in stage two); if GSW’s pipes would break with everyone watering on the same day as they have done in L.A. (no, local pipes are not as old as the ones that burst); and if water bills would go down (yes, but not by 36 percent).

Trickle down, pay up The acknowledgement that a

36 percent decrease in use would not be mirrored by a 36 percent decrease in costs garnered the most attention. A surcharge will likely be applied to water bills to cover GSW’s operating and maintenance costs. While Golden State’s expenses will go down, they won’t make up for the 36 percent loss in revenue. “Golden State is entitled to the revenue,” Vecchiarelli said. “We will add the difference to your

bill in the WRAM.” The Water Revenue Adjustment Mechanism is a public utilities commission- sanctioned surcharge. Further, Golden State is, according to the district general manager, allowed to make an eight percent profit to return to shareholders. Unhappy customers noted that

GSW’s rates already go up every year, as much as 800 percent in some cases. Many others cited the unfairness of the company’s rate schedule, and wondered how it could justify charging North Tustin customers so much more than neighboring water agencies. Before declaring that rates

would not be addressed at that evening’s meeting, Vecchiarelli explained that pumping “six tons of water uphill” costs more than moving it horizontally. That led to yet another “rate” comment from a customer who asked why other hilltop areas, where wa- ter was presumably pumped up, “don’t pay as much as us.” GSW will let its custom-

ers know what their individual baselines are within the next few weeks. They can track their progress by routinely reading their meters. The company will publish monthly usage numbers on its website to keep everyone informed. If voluntary cutbacks are insufficient, GSW will look to a stage two scenario, which it says would not be implemented in less than 45 days from the on- set of stage one.

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Golden State Water meeting leaves customers awash in wariness

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