At their November 13 meeting, the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District (LVMWD) Board of Directors approved an ordinance adopting a new three-year rate structure for LVMWD’s operating enterprises that include potable water, wastewater treatment and recycled water distribution. The action followed a public hearing on rates at a special board meeting held Monday, October 22. The new rate structure becomes effective January 1, 2013
The new rate schedule reflects the “pass-through” of increases already adopted by Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, LVMWD’s sole source of potable water, which is also its largest single expense. The scheduled potable water rate increases also include adjustments to cover local costs for electricity and natural gas, supplies, contracted services and treatment chemicals. Labor costs have been relatively stable, as salary ranges have been frozen for three years without cost-of-living increases and there has been a decrease in the number of employees.
“The adopted rate structure will place the District in a position to continue providing reliable service, maintain its aging infrastructure and comply with regulatory mandates for the foreseeable future,” said LVMWD General Manager John R. Mundy.
Sewer service revenues will be relatively unchanged the next two years but a 2 percent increase is scheduled for 2015 to meet revenue and debt service coverage requirements; however, it is subject to board review prior to becoming effective. Since 2007, the board has twice chosen to forego or reduce scheduled sewer rate increases.
Single family residential customers will see a nominal increase of 56 cents per billing period on their sewer bill, or a reduction based on average water use during the December 1 to March 31 time frame, which reflects indoor water use when irrigation is at a minimum. Customers using less than a 60-day average of 16 billing units (1 billing unit equals 100 cubic feet or 748 gallons) will see a “sliding scale” discount on their wastewater service fees applied to the entire year, possibly resulting in significant savings. However, the elimination of the 10 percent discount for single and multi-family residential accounts will mean up to a 12 percent increase for some customers. This does not result in additional revenues for the District but realigns the rates for all residential accounts. Multi-family dwellings already receive a lower rate than single family
“Even with these changes, LVMWD remains the lowest-cost water service provider in the region,” Mundy said.
Under the rate schedule that will take effect January 1, the average customer using 55 billing units in a given two-month period will see an increase of $13.15 for water service, or $6.58 per month. However, if that same customer is a single-family residential low-water user during the December through March measurement period for sewer service, that customer will actually see a net reduction in their total service bill.
Customers can measure the individual effects of the 2013 rates by using an online rate calculator available at the District’s website, www.LVMWD.com/calculator.htm .
“No one likes rate increases but the fact is, the cost of water service in California will continue to escalate," said Mundy. "We are doing our best as a local agency to control local costs, as evidenced by our position in the marketplace. A recent survey showed that LVMWD customers place a high value on water quality, reliability, environmental protection and the level of service they receive from the District. It is our intent to continue to meet or exceed their expectations in those areas.”
Las Virgenes Municipal Water District provides potable water, wastewater services, recycled water and biosolids composting for residents and businesses in the cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, Westlake Village, and Hidden Hills, as well as surrounding unincorporated portions of western Los Angeles County.