The City of Ripon residents can expect an increase of municipal utility rates over the next five years.
Any effort to protest the hike in services to water, garbage and sewer fell way short of the required majority vote (50 percent plus one) as specified under Proposition 218.
At Tuesday's Ripon City Council meeting, City Clerk Lisa Roos reported the number of protest ballots at "less than 200."
Under Prop 218 — the state constitutional amendment which protects taxpayers by limiting the methods that local governments can create or increase taxes, fees or charges without their consent — 2,488 votes were needed to carry out the protest.
"The majority of protest ballots needed were not met," Vice Mayor Dean Uecker said.
Elected leaders adopted a resolution calling for the increase of utility rates – namely, water, garbage and sewer – over the next five years.
The rate increases will be effective Feb. 1.
City Administrator Kevin Werner said the City has three enterprise funds – water, sewer and garbage – that operate in a “business-type manner,” charging customers for these services. That means ratepayers cover the cost of operating the services.
Engineering Supervisor Elizabeth Quilici, in her report to Council, said the enterprise funds, as required by state law, are established for a maximum of a five-year period following the Prop. 18 process.
The last study recommending enterprise fund rate increases was done in 2015.