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Savings will cut water taxes, forestall rate hikes

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POSTED November 8, 2013 1:00 a.m.

LATHROP – Residents could soon see a break in their water bill.

The Lathrop City Council has been told of a series of water bond refunds that will end up saving the city just under $2 million when everything is finalized by Nov. 14. For residents that live in the Mossdale area, $1 million of that will amount to just under $50-a-year in tax savings. The other $1 million could prevent citywide water rate increases when the city revisits the issue next year.

Lathrop took out $32 million in water bonds back in 2003 for a variety of infrastructure improvements that included bringing the city online with the SSJID surface water treatment project and adding a new well. When development in the city plummeted in late 2007, the city ended up with more water than it needed. The decision was made earlier this year to sell off a portion of that water plant capacity to Tracy while retaining enough water to meet the need of the slow growth trickle that is now coming back.

According to Acting Finance Director Cari James, the fiscal move should help keep future water rate increases to a minimum if not eliminate them completely.

“We try everything we can to save money for our residents,” Mayor Sonny Dhaliwal said. “We want to provide government that’s efficient, effective and always fiscally responsible.”

The city currently operates five ground wells to help supplement surface water. They just installed a state-of-the-art arsenic removal plant at the city’s corporation yard on East Louise Avenue near the Lathrop and Manteca city limits. One well features a manganese removal system and an additional well was added to supplement the existing system in case any other wells were ever to go offline.

Lathrop also had an entitlement to 8,007 acre-feet of water as part of the South San Joaquin Irrigation District groundwater treatment plant. Water deliveries are made to Manteca, Lathrop, and Tracy. A portion of that water was wrapped into an agreement with the City of Tracy in a multi-million dollar deal hashed out earlier this year.

Lathrop also has several storage tanks and booster stations that operate on a supervisory control and data acquisition system which allows for offsite backup and safety.

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