Tahoe City’s utility approves ’07 budget | SierraSun.com

Tahoe City’s utility approves ’07 budget

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

The year is almost over, but the Tahoe City Public Utility District board of directors is prepared to pay for next year’s water, sewer and recreation expenses.

Included in the 2007 budget, which was approved Thursday, were a 3 percent sewer rate and a 5 percent water rate increase for the 2007 fiscal year.

The district hosted a rate hearing on Friday, at which no one from the community showed up to protest the rate increase. All constituents were notified of both the increase and the rate hearing by newsletter with the October bill. The district did receive more than 50 letters from the community contesting the water or sewer increases, which represents less than 1 percent of the population, said Jim Dykstra, utility district treasurer.

Ron Treabess, president of the district’s board of directors, said that they received a normal amount of protest, not exceeding previous years’ rate increases. Treabess said he felt “very good that the board took full measures that the rates did not go up more than necessary.”

According to the district newsletter, the rate increases will ensure that the current level of service can be maintained by covering the increased costs of operations and maintenance. The district estimates that the rate increase will result in the average residential customer paying $5.32 more for water and $1.47 more for sewer per quarter.

In the budget plan for 2007, funding sources and revenues come from various places including property taxes, fees, new debt, grants, interest and other resources.

Property taxes and fees comprise more than 60 percent of the funding.

Historically, the debt has shown a decreasing trend since 1993. However, the projected debt for 2007 is more than $5 million, a significant increase from last year’s debt of less than $4 million. According to Dykstra, next year’s large capital project is the primary reason the district is required to borrow money. Plans to rebuild and relocate the Harbor Master pump station, located off Grove Street in Tahoe City, have been in the works for nearly 10 years. The project is estimated to cost more than $3 million, according to Dykstra.

The pump station was built in the 1950’s, may be an environmental hazard and will be moved further away from the lake, said Dykstra.