Garden Grove

Water rate increase Ok’d on 5-2 vote

AN INCREASE in water rates was approved Tuesday night by the Garden Grove City Council (Flickr.Beth Kinsey).

By Jim Tortolano

After a public hearing and a lengthy discussion, the Garden Grove City Council voted 5-2 to raise water rates. A typical homeowner who is now paying $106.31 every two months will see a first year increase to $109.22, with the rate increasing to $126.65 by the fifth year.

The water rate increase will pay for increasing costs of buying water but also will pay for infrastructure maintenance and repair, including water mains and reservoirs.

Four people spoke in the public hearing, all opposed. The city received 57 written protests out of 34,692 water customers.

The two council members who voted against the increase were Patrick Phat Bui of District 4 and John O’Neill of District 2. Both expressed approval for the hike in general, but were concerned about the financial impact on some financially strapped residents.

“I cannot support this now,” Bui said. “I don’t agree that the way we have to fund this is on the residents, 100 percent on the residents. We’re doing OK. We are a growing city.”

O’Neill spoke at length about alternative possibilities to fund the infrastructure investment, although he supported approving rate increases to cover the “pass-through” costs of water purchased from other agencies.

But most of the council favored the immediate passage of the increase.

“I’m deeply concerned about the vocal minority of price-sensitive citizens,” said Mayor Steve Jones. “The majority of rate-payers expect that when you turn on the faucet you get clean water and reliable service. I think it’s imperative and an unfortunate reality.”


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