Turlock Now: New water rate study could spike rates

Posted by Marijke Rowland on August 26, 2013 

The water rates for some Turlock residents could see dramatic changes in their water bills - either up or down — in the next year.

A new water rate study commissioned by the City Council has offered up a new rate structure that is “completely different from the existing rate structure and rates.”

Council members will hear a workshop on the more than 100-page report produced by by Municipal Financial Services out of Henderson, Nev. during their regular Tuesday night meeting.

The new rate structure could result in up to 88 percent increase in the bills of high-use commercial businesses for the 2014 fiscal year. But high-use single-family home residents could see an up to 21 percent decrease in their bills.

Based on the new rate structure, wild swings could be seen within each category of user based on amount of use. Institutions could experience a 33 percent decrease for low use and 75 percent increase for high use. 

The city’s current water rate structure was analyzed to take into account its operating and maintenance costs as well as future capital costs for the proposed $182 million Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant.

The City Council commissioned the study in January. The report is the first step in possibly raising the rates of Turlockers drinking bills to make up for a $750,000 projected shortfall. 

The last such study done in 2009 showed that Turlock has some of lowest water rates in the region. After seeing its results, Turlock’s water rates were adjusted from a flat rate of $31 for an unlimited amount of water. Currently, the metered rate is about $24.50 for 15,000 gallons. 

Under the new rates, a single-family home using the same amount would be charged a average rate of $26.90 in 2014. Those using 50,000 gallons or more would be charged $43.70.

The rate study will be discussed at the City Council meeting, but no formal action will be taken.

The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.

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