Thursday , April 18 2024

Fate of Water Rate Increase Now Up To City Council

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A public vote failed to stop a proposal by the City of Fresno to raise water rates. <br /><br />Residents returned 41,267 protest ballots. About 30 percent of the total ballots mailed to residents. Not enough to stop the water upgrade project. <br /><br />Now the fate of the project is in the hands of the city council. Who will vote on February 26th. <br /><br />Over the next three weeks the city will look for further funding resources for the $429 million water system upgrade. Which will help ease the burden on residents.<br /><br />&quot;The council does not have to charge the full rate increase,&quot; Doug Vagim, an opponent of the hikes said. &quot;They can come back in two weeks and say they are going to go with a reduced plan and the rate increase is going to be much less.&quot;<br /><br />Everyone knows our aging water system needs improvements. Many like Vagim are concerned about the costs. <br /><br />&quot;If you really want to do something about water finish what you started. Bring existing treatment plants to full capacity at a fraction of the cost,&quot; Don Winton who opposes the hikes said. <br /><br />Others support the plan. They believe with the drought and new state regulations there’s no time to waste. <br /><br />&quot;We can not expect the city to continue providing safe and sustainable water for residents without a significant investment,&quot; Al Smith with the Fresno Chamber of Commerce said. <br /><br />If the Council approves the increases a single family household will pay on average $52.18 a month for their water bill. An increase city officials know may be difficult for some low income families. Public works is working on a water affordability credit. It will be funded at a rate of $1 million a year and will help about 17,000 accounts. <br /><br /></div>

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