CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) --The city of Clovis is looking at raising water rates. One reason for the proposed increase is the restrictions, caused by the drought, have lowered water use, and bills, giving the city less money. The issue goes before the city council this week.
A logical way to get residents to reduce water use would be to charge more for the more water that's used. But a recent court ruling says cities can only charge based on actual costs. So, Clovis is proposing a change in the rate structure. Public Utilities Director Luke Serpa explains.
"What this new structure does is kind of flatten the rates, and, unfortunately, that kind of goes contrary to conservation pricing. What it means, the entire rate structure will be revenue neutral, the high water users, their total monthly bill will come down slightly, the lower water users, their rate will go up slightly."
It's confusing, but it basically means a small rate hike for the average user.
The city said the average home is now paying $45.87 every two months for 27,000 gallons of water. That would go up to $46.80, or 93 cents. However, the proposed rate hike also builds in a three-percent increase per year.
The city believes the increase is needed because the watering restrictions, imposed by the drought, have actually lowered water bills, and the city's ability to pay for its water system. The cities mayor, Nathan Magsig, explains, "The citizens of Clovis did a fantastic job. They got to about 31-percent water cutbacks, but because of how our existing rate structure is, it means a loss of revenue of hundreds of thousands of dollars each billing cycle."
If approved by the council the water rate change will be scheduled for a public hearing in April, followed by another city council vote. If that passes the rate changes would take effect in July.