Citing the need to upgrade aging infrastructure facilities, the Glendora City Council voted to raise the city’s water rates by about 17 percent over the next five years.
Tuesday's 4-0 vote (Mayor Pro Tem Gene Murabito was absent) will put the new water rates into effect by the first billing cycle of the next fiscal year.
The rates will raise the average user’s rates by $12 by the end of the 5-year cycle.
With underground water pipes more than 50 years old, the city has had to contend with recent leaks in the system, according to Public Works director Dave Davies.
Davies said the new rates will help fund $125 million worth of remaining water master plan improvements.
“This is part of our plan to continue with our capital improvements and repairs,” said City Council Member Karen Davis. “The amount of leaks we’ve had recently is indicative of our aging infrastructure and we need to fix it.”
Still, several residents voiced concern over the fixed rate portions of their bills.
“We really can’t do anything about our bill pretty much,” said Glendora Resident John Lentz. “I have low flush toilets and a new dishwasher. I have my sprinklers on timer, we have a water barrel outside to collect rain water. But I was told there was nothing else I can do because of the fixed rates. I don’t oppose the rate increase – $12 at the end of the five years is not going to hurt me, but I know it will hurt a lot of other people.”
Davies said only 61 people sent in letters of protest prior to Tuesday's meeting. To prevent a water rate increase, the city would need to receive 6,604 protests -- or more than half of the city's water customers.
But council members deemed the rate hike necessary to fund upgrades to an aging infrastructure, pointing to city figures that showed previous rates so insufficient that the city was subsidizing capital improvement projects out of its general fund.
“Every resident in Glendora should share in the fixed cost in the water operations in the city,” said Mayor Doug Tessitor. “In other words, even if you never turned on your tap and drew a drop of water, you would still have to pay the ready to serve charge. Why? Because you have the ability and you have to have the ability to turn on the water.”
Davies said residents who have questions regarding their water bills, should contact the Water Department.