Council sets public hearing on water rate increase - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Council sets public hearing on water rate increase

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego City Council Tuesday scheduled a Nov. 21 public hearing on proposed increases in water rates.

The hearing will be part of a special meeting that will bridge a one-month gap between the times the council gathers together in public.

The city's Water Utilities Department has proposed hiking rates by 7.25 percent in calendar year 2014 and by up to 7.5 percent the following year. The higher rates would vary among individual customers based on their amount of water usage.

The proposed rate increases are the result of a study on the projected costs for the department to provide water to area residents and businesses. Among the factors considered were increases in wholesale water rates and the need to pay debt service on major infrastructure projects.

Public Utilities Department officials said the utility absorbed higher costs recently imposed by the Metropolitan Water District, the major wholesaler in Southern California, by reducing other expenses.

Staff said the department cannot absorb further wholesale price increases. However, depending on how much the city is charged at the wholesale level, the potential 2015 increase might not be necessary, according to staff.

Water rates in San Diego were last raised on March 1, 2011.

The City Council will also consider confirming the appointment of Mary Lewis as chief financial officer.

The most recent meeting was Tuesday of last week and the next regular get-together will be Dec. 9.

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