Listed below are some Frequently Asked Questions about the Proposed Rate Change. Idyllwild Water District highly encourages you to look through them and see if they can help answer any questions you may have. If you are still having trouble understanding how this will effect you, please contact the office at 951-659-2143 and a staff member will be happy to help. Also, on April 10, 2018, NBS gave a presentation explaining the Rate Structure and how the different costs are allocated and collected. The slides from this presentation can be found here.
Why did I receive a notice about the Public Hearing on June 20, 2018, for the rates?
Proposition 218, passed by the voters in 1996 requires Idyllwild Water District to notify all water customers and ratepayers of the Board of Directors' intention to change the way the water and/or sewer rates are to be collected or increased. The notice explains how and why the District is proposing the changes and how you can "protest" the proposed changes. The Notice is also available here.
How much will my new bill be?
The change in Rate Structure for Water Charges is extensive. For example, the bill of a residential customer using 300 units under the current rates is $29.70 but would be $33.89 under the new rates. However, the best way to determine what your new charges will be is to use the Rate Calculator here. You can compare an old bill to the new charges. Use the drop down menus to enter your meter size (first box) and type of customer (second box- i.e., residential or commercial) and then type the number of units you used in the third box and hit "enter." The total monthly charge will be calculated. If you are also on Sewer, don't forget to add $40.00 for residential customers or $40.00/EDU (Equivalent Dwelling Unit) for commercial customers.
Currently, if you have a 5/8" Residential meter and use 350 CF of water, your water bill will be $32.87.
Under the new Rates, if you have a 5/8" Residential meter and use 350 CF of water, your water bill will be $34.85.
Currently, if you have a 1" Residential meter and use 550 CF of water, your water bill will be $77.08.
Under the proposed Rates, if you have a 1" Residential meter and use 550 CF of water, your water bill will be $89.20.
Why are you eliminating pre-paid water?
Judicial interpretations of the California State Constitution have determined that pre-paid water charges some customers for a service (water usage) that they do not use and is not permitted.
If I am currently not on Sewer Service, will I be charged for Sewer service when the Rates take effect?
If you are currently not on Sewer Service and are currently not being charged for Sewer Service, you are not subject to the Sewer Service charge represented on the Proposed Rate Schedule. This charge is for customers currently on Sewer Service and future customers that pay to connect to the Sewer System.
How were the revised rates developed?
The Idyllwild Water District Board of Directors engaged NBS Financial, a municipal financial consulting firm, to develope legally defensible rate structure options. The Board of Directors selected the structure that was best suited to the unique needs of the Idyllwild Community. The NBS Rate Study can be found here.
Why do you show the percentage increase in the Sewer Rates but not in the Water Rates?
There is no proposed change to the Sewer Rate Structure. Each sewer customer will continue to be billed based on the number of equivalent dwelling units (EDUs, one EDU is equeal to the wastewater generated by a single famile home, so a single family home is one EDU) and the rates for EDUs are increasing 5% in FY 2018-2019 and 2.5% in each of the following fiscal years to generate additional revenue for sewer infrastructure replacement and to stabilize the sewer enterprise system.
On the Water side, the rate structure is being completely reorganized and although the new rate structure is designed to generate 5% more total revenue each year, overall comparisons need to be done on a case by case basis to be meaningful. You can us the Rate Calculator to compare your old charges with the proposed new charges.
What are the Changes to the Water Rate Structure?
- Elimination of pre-paid water
- Reduction of Residential Tiers from 4 to 3
- Expansion of Residential Tier 1 from 300 to 450 units
- Reduction in Residential Tier 1 rate from $0.03 to $0.0192 per unit
- Increase in the Base Water meter monthly fee from $20.70 to $28.13
- Elimination of Commercial Tiers
- Shifting the structure to generate 50% of the revenue from fixed charges (only 40% of revenue is collected now from fixed charges and 83% of the District's expenses are fixed.) Over the 5-years of the proposed rates, the fixed revenue portion will increase to 60% of revenue (2.5% shifts per year).
Why are there no tiers for Commercial Customers?
When calculating the tier structure, one of the components that must be considered is HOW the water will be used by the customer. Residential customers use water in roughly the same manner, to clean (themselves or their homes), to cook and for irrigation which is why 55 gallons of water per person per day is the standard determined by the State Water Board. For 2 people this would be 450 Cubic Feet for 30 days which is the cut off for tier 1. 55 gallons of water per person per day for 4 people would be 900 Cubic Feet for 30 days which is the cut off for tier 2.
This kind of standard is much more difficult to develope for the Commercial Class because the water is used defferently in different establishments. For example, a laundry mat uses much more water than a realty office, but that does not mean that the laundry mat is over using. They may have HE washers but will still use more water becuase the water is used differently. This is why there is only one tier for Commercial Customers.
What will Idyllwild Water District do with the additional revenue?
Additional revenue is required to allow the District to implement a consistent infrastructure replacement or Capital Improvement Program (CIP). The 2017 Pipeline Project was the first replacement project since 2000. Over 15% of the District's pipelines are over 50-years old and some of the storage facilities (steel reservoirs) are in need of substantial refurbishment. Additional revenue is also needed to rebuild the District's reserve funds which are at 83% of the Target levels set by the Board. In April 2018, the Board of Directors reduced the Target Reserve Fund levels to reduce upward pressure on rates but still maintain prudent back-up funding for the District's operations and potential emergencies.
What does the District spend money on?
The District's proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 is posted here.
How can the District have tiered rates? I thought they were illegal.
Tiered rates are not illegal. However, they must be supported through a detailed rate study which the District had prepared by NBS Financial, a municipal financial consulting firm, available here.