Water, trash rates could increase in Covina

Covina residents will be asked to grab for their pocketbooks as the Covina City Council considers on Tuesday approving increases to water and trash rates.

The public hearing will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Covina City Hall.

According to city documents, the current residential monthly water rate for 30 units of water is $44.62. If the rate adjustment is approved, the new rate will be $55.90. That comes out to $135 a year.

The city says that the increases are needed because of increased costs for purchasing water, facilities and maintenance and capital projects and financing.

And these are not taxes, said Public Information Officer Bobbi Kemp, these are fees.

Trash services are provided by Athens, and those increases are being proposed because environmental mandates and fuel costs, officials said.

The Covina agenda has not yet been posted online.

This story appeared in August.

Trash, water fees may increase

San Gabriel Valley Tribune (West Covina , CA) – Sunday, August 10, 2008
Author/Byline: Amanda Baumfeld , Staff Writer
Section: News
COVINA – Residents may soon have to pay more to enjoy a glass of water and have their trash picked up, if proposed fee increases are approved.

At a special study session on Tuesday, the City Council was presented with possible trash and water rate increases.

Water fees are proposed to increase by 25 percent while trash fees are proposed to rise by 8 percent.

“These are ordinary increases that we have to do to be in compliance with the law as it changes and modifies,” said Mayor Kevin Stapleton. “We don’t control the water ; we have to pay for it or we don’t get it.”

If the proposal is approved, water rates for a 3/ 4 inch meter will rise

to $55.90 per month, from $44.62.

Part of the increase is because of recovering lost consumer price index fees over the past five years, according to Public Works Director Steve Henley.

The last water fee plan was approved in 2003.

Trash fees are proposed to increase to $24.84 a month from $22.89 per month for residential. Commercial fees are proposed to increase to $139.98 from $130.37 a month.

The trash proposal is a combination of CPI increases as well as an increase in fuel costs.

Some council members said this is only the start of high trash costs.

“When the Puente Hills landfill shuts down we are going to be back with some major increases,” said Councilwoman Meline Juarez at the study session. “This is just the beginning.”

Covinans have already seen other tax hikes.

In July, a sewer tax increase was approved, raising the $7 yearly fee to $28.56 for 2008-09. The fee will continue to increase by $18.72 annually through 2013, when residents will be paying $103.44.

In June, voters approved a 10-year extension on a utility users tax but rejected proposed tax increases for lighting and landscaping districts.

“It comes across as though we are increasing every fee on earth. I get that,” Stapleton said. “But we are not doing that. Everything is hitting us at the same time, especially with the high cost of fuel.”

Already getting heat from residents, city officials want to make it clear that these proposed increases are fees for service, not taxes.

“No general fund money is used to provide these services,” said City Spokeswoman Bobbi Kemp. “Just like with gas and electricity, the people who use the services are the ones who pay.”

But residents will have the option of opposing the fees.

A notice for a protest hearing detailing the increases will be mailed to the community prior to the Oct. 21 hearing.

  • It seems very clear, that inadequate harnessing of existing assets has caused public water utilities to issue bonds and/or apply (increasing) tax revenues to fund capital projects for public water – extension and/or replacements.

    Why is this, when you have an asset that is unharnessed for securing capital on more favorable terms. There are other cost reduction opportunities other cost reduction opportunities, to relieve the taxpayer from the increasing cost burden.
    ? We are glad to help is required and officials will listen!!!