Squaw Valley residents could see hefty rate increases | SierraSun.com

Squaw Valley residents could see hefty rate increases

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

OLYMPIC VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; In light of falling revenue, Squaw Valleyand#8217;s service district is considering sizable rate increases for owners of its nearly 2,000 parcels.

The Squaw Valley Public Service District could increase rates as much as 15 percent for water, 10 percent for sewer and 3.7 percent for trash collection. The district sites falling revenue due to the national recession, but says cost-cutting measures have been taken to reduce rate increases.

and#8220;This is the worst-case scenario,and#8221; said Richard Lierman, general manager for the district. and#8220;This is all about what might happen, not what will happen.and#8221;

If the district enacted those maximum increases, Lierman said the Olympic Valley residents would pay $235 a year instead of $227 for garbage, $317.25 for sewer instead of the current $288.50, and the district average for water would go up $81 per year over current bills.

A larger family with landscape watering could see their water bills go up by $200 over a year, Lierman said.

The decline in the economy has meant properties being reassessed to lower property tax rates, foreclosures and bankruptcies in district boundaries, according to the districtand#8217;s press release.

To date, the district reports combined property values with appeals pending that could decrease assessed values in the valley by $87 million, meaning the district could lose 7 percent of its tax revenue and#8212; about $233,000.

Lierman said the district has taken a number of steps to keep costs and#8212; and bills and#8212; down in the district.

When a staff member retired, the district didnand#8217;t fill the position, Lierman said, and the district has replaced equipment and enacted practices to keep its energy bills down.

Fleet replacement has been extended from a 10 year cycle to 15, and cost of living increases were capped at .6 percent last year, he said.

The district has also brought more training in-house, Lierman said, and a number of water reports have been reduced in frequency, saving tens of thousands of dollars each year and#8212; even enlisting the Friends of Squaw Creek to take over stream monitoring.

The district, which runs roughly from Cabin Creek to mid-way between Squaw and Alpine along Highway 89, and includes all of Olympic Valley, has about 700 homes and 1,200 condominiums.