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Lathrop residents face water, sewer rate hikes
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Just about everybody in California has cut their water usage in response to the drought crisis that has crippled the state’s storage facilities. 

And it may end up costing Lathrop residents more money. 

According to a staff report for tonight’s Lathrop City Council’s meeting, city staffers are going to request permission to start the process that could bring back a water and sewer rate hike for the body’s consideration. 

Rising costs to maintain both funds and the infrastructure for both systems coupled with a reduction in overage usage and therefore revenue is leaving the city with few other options. The idea to authorize the Proposition 218 compliant rate hike came from a consultant that the city hired to review it’ existing revenue and expenses and determine the best way to proceed. 

If approved tonight, the council is scheduled to decide on Dec. 21 whether the hike – the maximum allowed to be imposed – is in the best interest of the city and its residents. 

Homeowners on both the east and west sides of I-5 will, if approved, be asked to pay as much as 50 percent more for their water and sewer over the course of the next five years. 

Each individual portion of the total bill – which is set currently at $105 for eastside residents and $95 for west side residents – will go up several dollars each year for the next five years. By 2020, according to the proposal, residents on the east side could be paying as much as $156-a-month and those on the other side of the freeway would be paying $155-a-month. 

The city has recently taken steps to ensure that unnecessary costs aren’t passed back on to customers by decommissioning the Crossroads Treatment Plant back in August – redirecting the flows back to the Lathrop Consolidated Treatment Facility and cutting the sewer bills for customers within the business park by 50 percent. 

Dissenting residents will have an opportunity to voice their opinion before the council to any vote being taken. The increase, is approved, would be used to maintain the infrastructure and the maintain the integrity of the necessary funds while at the same time being implemented as gradually as possible and over a period of time so that reserves can be used to smooth out the rate hikes. 

The Lathrop City Council meets tonight at Lathrop City Hall – located at 390 Towne Centre Drive – at 7 p.m.