Water, Sewer Rates Likely to Increase $4, $5 per Month

The city council will vote in May whether to raise water rates 12 percent and residential sewer rates 9 percent.

With water and sewer rates regularly increasing over the last few years, more increases are likely to occur again in the near future, according to the city. The city council will consider a $4 per month in water rates and $5 per month in residential sewer rates.

These rate increases are nothing new, as increases have been occurring over the past few years. This particular increase would likely be just one of regular increases in the future due to constantly rising costs of repairing, replacing, and maintaining these critical systems. The cost increases pay directly for the increasing service costs.

The city is hosting a community information meeting on Wednesday, April 4, 7 p.m. at the Public Works Services Building to provide more information about the rate proposals.

To protest these rate increases, residents must submit a written protest by 5 pm, Monday May 7, 2012, to Water/Sewer Rates, City Clerk, City of Redwood City, 1017 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, CA 94063, or may be presented to the City Council prior to the close of the Public Hearing that evening.

The increases cannot be approved if more than 50 percent of affected property owners submit a valid written protest. If approved, the rates will begin July 1 of this year.

“As difficult as these rate increases may be, I’m sure you’ll agree that no one wants to turn on their faucet and see it run dry, or experience a sewer line break in their neighborhood,” said city spokesman Malcolm Smith in a statement. “And it’s important to have these systems in a condition to resist damage when the next big earthquake hits.”

Smith added that the city’s rates are similar to or below the average for Peninsula communities.

The city is also working on the following regional and local projects, which are also funded by the rate increases:

Sewer projects:

  • $200 million over the next 10 years for Redwood City’s share of the replacement of outdated facilities at the regional sewage treatment plant
  • $100 million over the next ten years for the repair/replacement of the City’s aging sewer infrastructure

Water projects:

  • $80 million over the next 20 years for the repair, replacement, and maintenance of Redwood City’s drinking water system
  • $10 million annually over the next 30 years for Redwood City’s share of the seismic upgrade of the Hetch Hetchy water system, the sole source of drinking water (in the form of regular and significant increases in the wholesale cost of water) 

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) owns the Hetch Hetchy water system and is raising the cost of water by 10 percent to Redwood City. These annual rate raises can be as high as 38 percent, such as last year.

To avoid these sudden large increases, the city tries to balance these raises by approving more steady, moderate increases every year, typically lower than the Commission’s increases, through its rate stabilization fund.

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Sarah H. April 05, 2012 at 03:35 PM
But, Lou, the sewers are 100% RWC, and that's the part of the bill that irks me the most. Almost half of my trifecta of water/sewage/garbage bill is just for the sewer connection. I rent my home and I am responsible for this bill. Rents are going up, PG&E is going up, RWC utilities are going up. Add in the rising costs of telephone and cable, as well as Internet services (lack of competition there), and one must budget at least another $500-600 a month on top of their monthly rent, or mortgage payments, for the most basic of utilities. I really don't understand why the sewer rates must go up and up and up. Also, I am again interested in knowing if and what the difference is in these utility bills for those in unincorporated parts of RWC.
Lou Covey, The Local Motive April 07, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Not sure why yours is going up by that much. We have two houses on our property -- one a rental -- and the combined increases you mention are less than $50 per billing period (once every two months for water, sewer and trash) for us. So You might want to check into the city about what you are being charged.
residentwithopinions July 22, 2012 at 05:00 AM
I don't know about you guys but I just got my new bill and I am appalled at my hikes. My water service charge went up $10 my Sewage went up $19.12 and my cost per unit went up $0.31, so my overall bill is $46 MORE than the last bill which $30 is non adjustable. Are kidding me? This is a big problem, and the problem is how easily the city hands down these hikes to us even if they are just passing down the hikes from Hetch Hetchy. RWC I will be moving to another city very soon if you continue to raise our rates like this, it is UNBELIEVABLE, in this economy that you would gouge your residents and stick us with the bills yet give out how many salaries over $250k and a $12000 raise to the city manager! ABSURD! I am fuming!
Sarah H. July 24, 2012 at 04:51 PM
RWO, I also just got my new bill. The sewer portion of bill is $115.76. That is just the sewer!!! My sewer bill is higher than my water bill. This is INSANE!
Stacy Robertson August 28, 2012 at 08:32 PM
Here I am, another RWC resident pissed off about the enormous water/garbage I'm recieving. I remember a few years back thinking $115 was a lot now $256!! IT'S RIDICULOUS! I'm a single parent and I cannot afford that kind of water/garbage bill....heck, thats almost my car payment!! It's a joke and there is nothing we can do about. All I can think of to make my bill lower is to cut back on watering plants, minimize when washing dishes and taking showers and baths. UGH this is not right!


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