Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Learn More About La Verne Water by Mayor Don Kendrick

What’s New, La Verne?
by Mayor Don Kendrick

In last month’s article about restaurants in La Verne, I came up with a whopping 77 restaurants, with more on the horizon.  There is now going to be an easy way to access this list, and possibly, categories!  By the time you read this article, you will be able to go on the City of La Verne’s web site and scan the list.  The City’s web site is cityoflaverne.org.  Next time you can’t decide where to go to eat, this resource is at your fingertips!

Water – Our Most Precious Commodity

The city’s water rates have recently been raised, and there seems to be some parts of it that need a better and more thorough explanation.  I will try and bring you up to speed.  The “water” bill we receive includes charges for the Paramedic fee, Refuse (trash, recycling & green-waste) & Sewer charges as well as water charges.  There are 2 different charges for water: “Minimum Service Chrg” and “Water Consumption”.  Minimum Service Charge is the fixed cost of the system to get the water to our homes.  This would include such things as the upkeep of the pipes in the ground, personnel, equipment, utility costs, etc., as well as Metropolitan Water District and Three Valley Water Fees (non-water delivery costs that are passed on to La Verne).  Minimum Service Charge is determined by the diameter size of the meter delivering water to your home.  Most residences in La Verne have a one-inch diameter service meter in front of the home.  That cost is currently $36.40 every two months, or $18.20 per month.  The Water Consumption part of the bill is just that: The more water we use, the more we pay. The average residence in La Verne uses approximately 36,000 gallons every two months.

To put these charges in perspective in comparing them to 15 other communities which includes Glendora, Pomona, Ontario, Claremont, San Dimas, Chino, Upland, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga, Diamond Bar, Walnut, La Puente, Azusa, Covina and Monrovia, at the end of our last fiscal year, June 30th, 2017, La Verne had the lowest Minimum Service Charge of all these cities, $36.40.  It should be noted that La Verne likely has the lowest rate because this rate has not been raised since 2009.  There are two reasons for this: the recession and the drought.  The Public Works Director felt we could get by if the decision to raise rates was delayed until we, the residents, were past the recession as well as the drought.

La Verne has two sources of water.  One is our own, and one we purchase.  We have a number of wells we use to pump ground water from aquifers that sit under the city.  The amount of water we can pump for our use depends on the amount of rain that fills these aquifers.  In drought years, less can be pumped, which until last winter seemed to be the new norm.  The La Verne community uses approximately 7,500 acre feet on average, which translate to 2,443,882,000 gallons per year.  For the upcoming year, La Verne will be able to pump approximately 30% of our needs from our own wells.  This means we will be purchasing 70% from the Three Valleys Municipal Water District, our wholesale water supplier.  Some cities have much more ground water available, so they pay less than La Verne, and some cities don’t have any ability to use ground water aquifers, so they pay much more.

So, what do the new rates look like and how does it match up with our neighboring cities?  The Minimum Service Charge will go up to $51.00 every two months or $25.50 per month, an increase of approximately $7.00 per month.  La Verne residents will pay $3.55 for every 1000 gallons we use, about the same as a bottle of water at a convenience store.  When doing a comparison with both the Minimum Service Charge and Water Consumption Fee, La Verne sits in the lower half of compared cities: residents in 9 cities will pay more than La Verne residents and only 6 will pay less.

La Verne currently offers a lifeline discount which is 50% off the bimonthly Minimum Service Charge for low and moderate income households. Information can be obtained by calling the Public Works Department at (909) 596-8741.  It should also be noted that the “Water Fund” is a “restricted” fund and cannot be used for other purposes within the city.  The City of La Verne owns its own water company and it is a separate business and treated as such.  We are very fortunate to have this asset in La Verne.

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