The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved increasing water rates in four districts in L.A. County – water bills will go up 16 percent over the next five years in Marina del Rey.
Due to customers conserving water in the last several years, Public Works Department revenues have decreased significantly, according to Dan Lafferty, DPW assistant division engineer.
“Expenditures right now are higher than our revenue, and we need to close the gap,” he said. “And we can’t create a revenue structure that is not susceptible to customer demand.”
The department has made an effort to cut costs, reducing staff and improving operating efficiency at facilities, Lafferty said. But power is one of DPW’s highest costs, rising faster than inflation.
Rates in Marina del Rey will increase 3.3 percent in 2013, and 3 percent thereafter for the next four years, adding about $49 to customers’ bi-monthly bills. The average Marina del Rey consumer pays $1,486.40, a high bill due to the fact that many customers are large hotels and condominium complexes, according to DPW spokesperson Bob Spencer.
Of the approximately 300 DPW ratepayers in Marina del Rey, none sent any letters opposing the rate hike, while about 169 residents in Malibu, one of the other four districts that will experience a rate hike, filed a complaint letter.
“If [residents] are conserving water, that also means [DPW] is buying less water, there should be an offset somewhere,” said Malibu resident Arnold Sachs.
The money raised from the rate hike, $4.6 million in the four districts over the next five years, will be used to create an emergency fund, a 90-day cash reserve, as well as for infrastructure improvements.
In Marina del Rey, the funds will be used to retrofit pipes on Fiji Way, Via Marina and Bora Bora Way.
The rate hike will go into effect Jan. 1 for Marina del Rey, Malibu-Topanga, Val Verde and Acton.