Clovis Approved Water Fee Hike

Clovis, Calif. For the first time since 1991, the Clovis City Council voted unanimously to increase water fees for its more than 30-thousand customers.

Rates will increase by 20% in January of 2010, another 15% in July of 2010, followed by an additional 15% in July of 2011 and another 5% in July of 2012.

That means for an average household using 17,000 gallons of water a month, your water bill will go from $17.48 a month to $28.92 cents.

The council's decision did not come without opposition.

"I understand an increase in water, I completely agree with that, but my problem is with the amount of money that they are going to," said Crystal Reed.

Richard Clymore lives in Clovis and runs a chiropractic clinic in Northwest Fresno. He says the city didn't prepare people for potential water rate hikes, which is why he initiated a letter writing campaign, urging other Clovis residents to protest the increase.

"To do it during a time where the economy is bad and a lot of people are unemployed, instead of raising rates, they should see what they can do to lower costs," said Clymore.

City council members say their hands are tied. Expenses have increased dramatically and home sales and other revenues have dipped below expectations. They fear without a water fee increase, the quality of life in Clovis will deteriorate.

Nathan Magsig said, "It would make it more difficult for us to issue bonds in the future but also other funds we have in the city of Clovis that help support our services could become in jeopardy."

After all increases have gone into effect, Clovis residents will likely pay 50% more for water. City officials say if the economy bounces back, there's a slight chance those rates will go down.

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