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Steep Water Rate Increases Denied for Several High Desert Communities

Steep Water Rate Increases Denied for Several High Desert Communities

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The office of First District County Supervisor Lovingood announced that the Board blocked what they describe to be “steep rate hikes” for unincorporated areas.  Some of these proposed rate increases were more than 80 percent, and Lovingood said that these are unjustified and would cause hardships to many of these residents. The proposed increases were proposed to be made over a 5-year period and would increase bi-monthly water rates by an average of 63 percent ($122) in Spring Valley Lake , 70 percent ($117) in Oak Hills, and 81 percent ($116) in Oro Grande.

 “I have serious concerns about the significant cost First District constituents could incur as a result of these drastic fee increases,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Robert A. Lovingood said. “The 5-year increase would be 71.6 percent, and that’s just for water.” The concerns were not only with the increases, but with hoe citizens were notified of the January meeting where rate increases were discussed. Supervisor Lovingood said that the Special District Department sent out notices to the customers in the serviced areas announcing the proposed increase. When these notices were received, hundreds of residents sent letters against it and some spoke at a Board of Supervisor’s meeting.

The Board agreed, voting 5-0 to reject the increases and continue existing water and sewer rates in 10 of 13 special districts which include; Spring Valley Lake, Oak Hills, Oro Grande and Lenwood. The Board unanimously agreed to ask staff to relaunch public outreach efforts and give the public, the Board and staff time to further evaluate projected costs and capital improvements. “This is the result of the citizens of Spring Valley Lake coming together,” said resident Jim Nahom, who spoke in opposition to the proposed rate increase. “And our voices were heard. It made a difference.” The Board approved small rate increases in Bloomington, Glen Helen, and Searles Valley.

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Staff Writer

This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization

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