On Monday, officials presented board members with what they called a “Plan B.” Plan A called for a 35 percent increase this year, and up to 65 percent over five years. Instead, the new plan would hike rates 18 percent this year and just under 50 percent overall. Spokeswoman Deanne Kloepfer:
Kloepfer: “We are and have been looking at a variety of ways to potentially reduce the impact of the rate increase on the customers.”
Like negotiating with its employee union to reduce costs, and talking with utilities like PG&E to increase revenues from selling the hydro-electric power the district produces.
Kloepfer: “We’ve been working on additional ways to increase revenues outside of rate increases and to lower our operating and debt service costs to the degree possible.”
Thomson: “I think the phrase is, they poked the bear and the bear woke up and growled.”
John Thomson leads the citizens group trying to stop the rate increase. He says the new proposal is “probably reasonable” – at least for the first year.
Thomson: “I think we know services aren’t free and we have to pay for services, and I think citizens are willing to pay a reasonable amount for their water and other utilities. So I think this is a good start.”
District officials will discuss the alternate plan at public workshops later this week. The board is set to vote on the rate hikes next Thursday – February 4th.