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Ripon hiking rates for water, sewer & garbage service
water use penalty
Single-family homes in Turlock that use more than 40,000 gallons of water a month will be charged an Excessive Water Use Penalty. - photo by KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal

Folks in Ripon can soon expect to see increases to their water, sewer and garbage bill.

This is in accordance with Proposition 218, in which property owners within the city limits approved in 2020 such increases over a five-year period for water (2 percent), sewer (4 percent) and garbage (5 percent) enterprise funds, effective next month.

At the Jan. 11 Ripon City Council meeting, City Administrator Kevin Werner indicated that the money collected from revenue from these services will pay for the operations of each of these services.

The City uses “enterprise funds” to account for the financial activities of the water, sewer and garbage services provided to residents and businesses in Ripon, according to Werner in his report.

“Each enterprise fund is an independent budget that operates likes a private business enterprise. Each fund collects revenue from the utility customers to fund the operations of the utility services along with the replacement of capital items,” he said.

This is similar to that of the General Fund, where money is transferred to the Enterprise Capital Funds and used in this case to pay for replacement of capital items such as water wells, pumps and other facilities that’s aged out of services over the years.

Tom Pavletic, who was retained by the City as a consultant with Municipal Financial Services, conducted the financial evaluation for enterprise fund rate adjustments, recommending that elected leaders approve the increases.

Those in Ripon can expect to a 3.5 percent increase to their bill, according to Werner.

He added that staff is watching closely the solid waste regulations, which, he noted, are out of the City’s control and will likely increase in operating expenses.

“These regulations have affected our partners where we bring our solid waste,” said Werner. “Their tipping fees have increased which are then passed down to the City.”

He added that the other concern is AB 1383, which will have extensive expenses associated with it, including the rising cost in construction.

“When the City did the five-year study, we assumed we would know how much it is to drill new wells and replace pumps – the City is seeing significant increases in these costs,” Werner said.

The third item of concern, he pointed out, is general impacts from inflation and for personnel expenses.

Councilman Daniel de Graaf, meanwhile, said the rate increases to water, sewer and garbage are what the voters already approved and these charges will go only to providing the coverages for the costs of the services.

“No money is being made off these rates increases,” he said.