By now, most Agoura Hills residents have received the news: water rates will likely be going up again. The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District mailed notices saying as much last week.
That was one of the topics John Mundy, district general manager, addresssed when he spoke to members of the Calabasas Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber's government affairs meeting Monday afternoon.
Mundy also spoke about the possiblity of building a second system for holding reclaimed/recycled water.
"We are at a point where we've built as much recycled water in our system as we can sustain," he said.
Though the new development would be expensive—to the tune of $100 million—he said the district believes environmental regulations, which are becoming more stringent, will require such a system down the road. In addition, he said, having the ability to recycle more water would mean having to import less water into the community (The holding system would contain about 2,000 acre feet, which is the volume of one acre of surface area to a depth of one foot) and having the ability to sell it rather than just throwing it away.
The governing boards, he said, have not made the decision to move forward witht the new system yet.
Mundy also addressed ways the water district itself has cut costs. It's eliminated 10 positions over the last four years; a refinance of some of its debt will lead to more than $4 million savings over the life of the debt; and the district has frozen salaries for the last three years.
But the proposed rate increase likely is what water district customers will be most concerned with. The local increase will be 5 percent per year for three years; however, Metropolitan Water District, which provides our water could also increase its rates and those increases would be passed along to consumers. According to Mundy, Metropolitan has increased its costs 40 percent over the last four to five years.
There was some good news, however, for smaller households. The district is looking into establishing a sliding sewer rate. If it goes into effect, residences that use less than a certain amount of water will get a break on their sewer bill.
District customers who have questions about the rate increase or other district issues can get answers at an open house and a series of upcoming public workshops.
The open house will take place at the district office from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. The office is at 4232 Las Virgenes Road.
As well, the worshops, all of which will take place at 7 p.m., are scheduled as follow:
Sept. 19 Westlake Village City Hall community room, 31200 Oak Crest Drive, Westlake Village
Sept. 27 El Camino Real Charter High School, 5440 Valley Circle Blvd., Woodland Hills
Oct. 1 Agoura Hills-Calabasas Community Center, 27040 Malibu Hills Road Calabasas