City of Portola moves ahead with Prop 218 process for rate increase
At their regular meeting Feb. 23, Portola's City Council voted to go forward with the proposed rate increases to city water and sewer customers and to begin the Proposition 218 process.
The proposed rate increase accommodates Lake Davis Treatment Plant operation and replacement as well as covers recent shortfalls in the water and sewer funds. Because the increase proved to be significant, the council opted to spread the increase over a six-year period in an attempt to reduce the impact during the current depressed economy.
The city described the rate transition plan that the council had chosen from several options as "a water rate structure consisting of a base rate with a uniform usage based rate and the sewer rate transition plan presented as option 1."
It is also an important rate change in that the water rate schedule itself was restructured. For these reasons, the city has planned extensive community outreach to explain the need for it and to educate the public. See the accompanying sidebar for the Proposition 218 process and public meetings schedule.
The timing for agenda items that discuss changes to the ordinance regarding utility billing procedures is also included in the schedule. Several months ago, the council approved a change of billing responsibility from tenant to landlord or property owner. The ordinance change is not related to the Proposition 218 process, but is a related matter that needs to be addressed at the same time.}
Water-Sewer Proposition 218 process
Feb. 23: City Council motion to direct staff to proceed with public notification of Proposition 218 Water-Sewer Utility Rate Increase Option 1 Resolution, to become effective July 1, 2011.
March 10: Deliver Proposition 218 Public Notice to newspaper and set public hearing date of May 11 to be published beginning March 16.
March 16 – May 11: City staff available to make public presentations at community events; neighborhood meetings, if invited; and local service organization and business meetings. Staff makes CD of HDR presentation available as well as FAQs and other material explaining the reasoning for proposed increases.
This is also the time period to receive written protests from property owners opposing the rate increase in the proposed resolution. A total of 1,672 notices will be mailed; if 837 or more written protests are received, the process will not move forward. If fewer than 837 protests are received, the council may consider adoption of the resolution.
April 16: Saturday public presentation during 5:30 p.m. meeting at City Hall with HDR representative Shawn Koorn present. Soft drinks and refreshments provided.
April 27: City staff introduce draft ordinance to City Council regarding tenant/property owner responsibility for utility bill payments.
May 11: City Council vote on draft ordinance change regarding property owner responsibility for utility bill payments.
May 25: City Council considers adoption of Water-Sewer Utility Rate Increase Option 1 Resolution, to become effective July 1.
July 1: If resolution adopted, rates become effective.
Aug. 1: If resolution is adopted, utility customers receive first bills including rate inc