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Water bills set to rise next year, following 3-0 vote

A chart shared by the Citrus Heights Water District on Nov. 23 shows how rate and fee increases will affect a customer with a 1-inch meter who uses 20 units of water each billing cycle.

Sentinel staff report–
Following a unanimous vote by Citrus Heights Water District board members earlier this month, water rates and service charges are set to increase beginning Jan. 1, 2023.

Water usage charges will rise from $1.19 per unit of water to $1.43 per unit, equaling a 20% increase. However, a fixed service charge of $91.33 for a typical 1-inch meter will only increase by a little over 3% and a new Water Main Replacement Charge of $10.50 will remain the same.

Overall, the district says a typical customer with a one-inch meter who uses 20 units of water will see a 6.5% increase in their bi-monthly bill, from $125.63 to $133.79. Customers who use more water will see that percentage increase, and customers who use less will see that percentage drop. A unit of water is equal to about 748 gallons of water.

Most local residents are served by the Citrus Heights Water District, although not all residents will be affected by the water rate and fee increase due to portions of the city being served by two other water districts. Spokeswoman Lea Park-Kim said CHWD’s rates will still be significantly lower than the other two district’s serving the city.

In a comparison graphic showing bill charges for delivering 20 units of water for a one-inch meter, the district shows California American Water charging $97.44 and Sacramento Suburban Water District charging $115.91, including service charges and water usage. With the newly passed rates, Citrus Heights Water District customers will see a lesser amount, $81.20, for the same delivery, the chart shows. The comparison accounts for bills that are sent on a monthly or bi-monthly basis.

Park-Kim said three people spoke or asked questions during a Dec. 12 public hearing regarding water rates. According to an agenda packet, at least 14 letters of protest were also received prior to the meeting, with property owners citing concerns with high inflation and “exorbitant” fees.

In a Proposition 218 mailer sent out before the public hearing, the district said increased rates and fees were needed to “balance short-term demands and long-term needs as well as help avoid significant unplanned rate adjustments which can result from failing infrastructure.”

The district’s governing board also passed an expenditure plan for 2023 that includes development of a seventh groundwater well, currently under construction, as well as $3.1 million in infrastructure planning and construction projects.

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