Time running out to take stand against San Diego’s water fee hike

Consider it a done deal, water bills are going up again, unless half of the city's water users protest another rate hike by Monday, otherwise water bills will go up again in March.

KUSI's Steve Bosh has been following this story and has the cities explanation and how you can take a stand against it.

They're going up because there are not enough protest forms to prevent it, and there are only three more days left before the city council approves the rate hike.

As of Thursday only 12,500 water users had protested, that's less than 10-percent. 134,863 protest forms are needed to prevent the increase. The deck is stacked against the ratepayer in this process because city departments also have votes. City Councilman Carl DeMaio explains, “city government is assigned its own votes and so by not voting you in essence are allowing, or you're being automatically being counted as a yes vote.”
   
And the manner in which city residents are required to respond to a rate hike makes it nearly impossible to defeat.

When the city sends you a bill it comes first class in an easily recognizable envelope but when they send you something that they don't necessarily want you to respond to, like the notice for a water rate hike, it comes as a flyer, like junk mail, you get no envelope, you get no stamp. The flyer is easily overlooked, and gets tossed.

However you can still write a letter of protest and make sure you sign it. Unfortunately time has run out to have it delivered by mail, council votes on Monday.

Councilmember Carl DeMaio will be hosting a rally to protest the rate hike in Rancho Bernardo on Sunday. You can drop off a protest letter there, or at his council office on Monday. DeMaio says it's important “to send a message to the city council and the Mayor that this is the wrong thing, don't raise rates on working families, particularly when you have other alternatives to save money to avoid a rate increase.”

The rally is to put pressure on elected officials to do the right thing, reform. Councilmember DeMaio said, “there are 8-reforms that we've documented that would save tens of millions of dollars annually in the water department that we'd like the Mayor and council to act on first before they raise rates on working families.”

We've had 5-years of steady increases in base water rates dating back to 2006 when a monthly bill averaged 43-dollars. With this new rate increase it jumps above 72-dollars, a 65% increase.

This rate increase is especially troubling because we've been using less water for the last 3-4 years, and we're still using less water.

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