LE MESA (CBS 8) Despite a chorus of angry protests by irate customers, the Helix Water Board approved a rate increase at its meeting Wednesday night.
The average household will be charged an additional $5.50 every two months as a result of the 4.7 percent rate hike.
Helix Water Board members say the increase is being driven by the increasing cost of supplying water to the region by the Metropolitan Water Authority, which is projecting a 16.6 percent increase in its price over the coming year.
At Wednesday's public hearing, several vocal opponents charged that the rate hike is helping to pay for an overly generous pension plan and other retirement benefits for Helix Water District employees.
The Board's president refutes that claim, countering that the district has done everything it can to cut down on its expenses, including cutting ten percent of its staff over the last few years.
The rate increase passed by a four-to-one vote by the Helix Water Board. Water Board member Kathleen Coates-Hedberg cast the sole dissenting vote opposing the hike.
This rate increase will go into effect beginning next month. Customers will see the additional cost in their November bill.
The Helix Water District includes La Mesa, El Cajon, Lakeside and Santee.
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