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Residents unhappy with water rate hike

May 16, 2001|By ANTHONY LONGORIA, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — Nearly a dozen residents of Tangerine Gardens Mobile Home Park here gathered at the City Council meeting Tuesday night to express concern over a recent increase in their water rates.

Tangerine Gardens residents are upset over a change in the way they are billed for water use. Previously, the residents were billed based on their actual use of water, but in April the city changed the park's billing to a fixed rate of $29.39 per space per month.

Park residents, who said they consistently conserved water to keep rates down, said the new billing system is unfair because the system will bill them for water use they likely would not be consuming.

City Finance Director Fred Selk told the council a "software glitch" excluded the park from citywide rate increases in 1997 and the new billing system includes the park in the rate increase.

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Councilman John Benson said he sympathized with the park residents' concerns but acknowledged the rate increase was necessary to help pay for the city's new $20 million water plant.

The council directed staff to look into the matter and possibly reinstate the per-use system or explore an alternative billing system.

In related business, the council was updated on a proposed ordinance increasing city sewer rates by 25 percent.

The council will conduct a public hearing regarding the ordinance at its next meeting June 5 in council chambers at 225 A St.

A first reading of the ordinance is scheduled for the June 5 meeting.

Should the ordinance be approved, it would be effective July 19 with the first billing date Aug. 1.

The ordinance, which includes a schedule of the new sewer rates, is available for viewing in the city clerk's office at 400 Main St.

Comments regarding the ordinance may be made at the public hearing or submitted in writing to the city clerk.

Staff Writer Anthony Longoria can be reached at 337-3452.

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