By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
No change for sewer & water?
Manteca council may suspend planned rate hikes
Manteca municipal water may cost residents the same in 2011 as they did in 2010 if the council Tuesday suspends a scheduled rate hike due to go into effect on Jan. 1. - photo by Bulletin file photo
Manteca utility customers are posed to get an early Christmas present on Tuesday – a suspension of planned rate increases for sewer and water service in 2011.

The city’s across-the-board response two years ago to the economic slowdown was to reorganize and reduce staff costs coupled with dropping sewer project construction costs. It is now allowing the City Council to freeze rates. It delays for one year an 8 percent increase in sewer rates and a 5 percent increase in water rates.

Water rates – should the council at Tuesday’s 7 p.m. meeting at the Civic Center, 1001 W. Center St., go along with the staff recommendations – will actually go down.

That’s because the city complied with state mandates to put in place a rate structure a year ago that encourages water conservation. Essentially it reduced the basic monthly rate in 2010 and 2011 before taking them back up while increases charges for actual water use with the third tier - the heaviest used amount of water – paying proportionally more for water than those at the first level.

The current basic water service rate is $18.50 a month having dropped from $19.95 in 2009. The fixed service rate charge for next year will be $17.15 per month.

Meanwhile actual water use charges will remain unchanged for the second straight year despite a plan in place that called for annual jumps of 5 percent adopted in 2009.The 5 percent increase didn’t happen this year because the city was able to get a number of water system construction projects underway while taking advantage of lower bids due to the economy. At the same time the city’s effort to reduce all city spending – including enterprise funds supported by users’ fees – resulted in lower water costs.

Rates were due to go up on Jan. 1 from $1.03 per hundred cubic feet of water to $1.16 for the first 2,000 cubic feet. The per hundred cubic feet charge for 2,000 to 30,000 cubic feet was scheduled to go up from $1.35 to $1.53 per hundred cubic feet with the rate for use above 30,000 cubic feet going up from $2.72 to $3.06 per hundred cubic feet. If water use mirrors previous years the decision not to increase the actual use rate it would result in no changes in water bill pavements each month.

Manteca, however, is getting ready to drop the service charge from $18.50 to $17.50 per month based on the conservation plan adopted roughly two years ago, So even if all things considered remain even in terms of a water use, a typical residential users  would save $1.35 month on their water bill.

What will go into effect, though, is the fixed monthly rate charge change. Under a plan adopted to meet state conservation goals, the basic residential rate will go down on Jan. 1 from $19.95 per month to $18.50 per month. This comes after the service charge for water was dropped $1.565

The original water plan was to ratchet water rates up over the course of three years .The plan called for

• The first block of up to 2,000 cubic feet going from $0.96 per hundred cubic feet in 2008 to $1.43 in 2013.

• The second block of 2,001 cubic feet to 30,000 cubic feet going from $1.26 per hundred cubic feet in 2008 to $187 in 2013.

• The third block, any usage over 30,000 cubic feet, going from $2.53 per hundred cubic feet to $3.76 in 2013.