Roseville residents may see utility rate increase
Environmental Utilities proposed rate increase
What: Public workshop about proposed increase
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 and 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12
Where: Feb. 7 meeting is at Maidu Community Hall, 1550 Maidu Drive. The Feb. 12 meeting is in the Timber Creek Lodge Ballroom at Sun City Roseville, 7050 Del Webb Blvd. in Roseville.
Roseville residents may see a small increase on their utility bills beginning in July, as the city’s Environmental Utilities Department considers raising rates for water and sewer.
The proposed rate increase includes a 2.5 percent jump for water effective July 1, and another 2.5 percent in July 2014. It also includes a 3 percent increase in sewer for each of the next two years. The rate for solid waste won’t change.
If approved by the City Council, these adjustments will add $1.64 to the average household’s monthly bill in 2013 and another $1.68 in 2014.
During a public workshop Tuesday, Environmental Utilities Interim Director Edward Kriz said staff is looking at implementing smaller rate increases over the next five years, as opposed to the “rate shock” of reaching the point where an increase is critical and then asking for a big one.
“We do know that even though it’s $1.68 monthly average for our customers, that’s $1.68 our customers might do something else with than pay their utilities,” Kriz said.
His department serves some 40,000 residential and 1,900 commercial customers. While rate increases will likely occur for each of the next five years, the city is currently only moving forward on the first two years.
Kriz cites rising energy rates, and fuel, chemical and ongoing regulatory costs as increasing operational expenses for his department, which oversees $23 million water, $32 million wastewater and $22 million refuse operations.
City staff expects the state’s water conservation and solid waste recycling mandates to result in higher costs because of the associated staffing and programs needed to meet the new requirements. Utilities must achieve a 20 percent water conservation rate by 2020, and divert 75 percent of the city’s trash from the landfill.
The City Council has directed the Environmental Utilities Department to maintain at least a 10 percent reserve, which constitutes about a month of operating expenses. Without the rate adjustment, the reserve quickly dips below that threshold in water and does a steep decline in sewer and solid waste, Kriz said.
He said that even with the proposed increase for 2013, rates for Roseville’s three combined utilities are the lowest in the region.
“The good news is we still have the service,” said resident Lisa Schreider, who was there on behalf of the Kaseberg Neighborhood Association, and one of only three residents in attendance.