Occasionally our elected officials will do the right thing as the Davis City Council is set to repeal the water rate increase they originally adopted on September 6th. The council initially had increased the water rates to help finance an ill-advised surface water project that would siphon water from the Sacramento River, treat it and pipe it into Davis, eliminating the city’s reliance on ground water. The cost to the cities of Davis and Woodland would have been a whopping $325 million.
Bob Dunning, a local columnist compared the repeal to an early Christmas gift. The council will re-enact the water rates it first approved in August 2010. Those utility rates will generate approximately $10 million annually, where as the higher water rates approved by the council in September would have increased that amount to $12 million. As for new water rates, the council will proceed with ideas on a new Proposition 218 regarding water rates as the city still needs additional revenue for ongoing operational and maintenance needs. Instead of considering major cutbacks in spending, as a normal citizens would do during trying times, the council is attempting to generate funds through their increased fees.
Dennis Diemer, general manager of the Woodland-Davis Clean Water Agency outlined several potential consequences in delaying the project. One scenario had the total cost of the project rising to $131 million more than the original estimate of $325 million. Council members are considering placing the entire surface water project on the June 2012 ballot as opposed to just the water rates. The City Council will hear options from City Attorney Harriet Steiner at the January 24th meeting about its ballot options, as well as receive a recommendation from staff to approve a professional service contract for a multi-year water rate study. The citizens have the right to determine any project that would cost this exorbitant amount. Any one feel this project is justified?
The City Council is also discussing adding alternate members to the Water advisory Committee that was formed last month to aid the council in its decisions on rates, the project and related issues. How are these committee members being supplemented and who might be footing the bill? There are so many questions involved with this project that need to be analyzed and voted on by the citizens of Davis. Please visit my website at www.JohnnyBrooksHomes.com for helpful tips on buying or selling a home, scan my other informative blogs and to view local area homes for sale.