Water rate increase returns to Fairfield council

By From page A4 | May 07, 2013

FAIRFIELD — City leaders will again discuss raising water rates Tuesday after their last discussion stalled over the length of time for the hike.

Fairfield City Council members tabled the item at the April 16 meeting after failing to agree whether the 2.5 percent proposed increase should last for the suggested four years or two years, which was suggested by two council members.

Staff originally recommended the 2.5 percent increase as a way to fund capital projects, including a new transmission line and replacing aging water mains that have begun breaking around the city. Fire Chief Tony Velasquez also spoke to the council about the need for those mains to perform during large-scale fire incidents.

City Manager Sean Quinn said four years was needed to successfully plan and to execute the projects.

The five members of the council seemed to agree on the need for an increase, but Catherine Moy and Pam Bertani said four years was too long of a period. Several motions were made, but the council failed to agree. The eventual vote on the four-year rate increase was 3-2.

That prompted staff to remind the council that four votes were needed to change a city ordinance. Quinn said the 3-2 vote would have forced the city to issue notices to residents about a public hearing in 45 days, which would cost between $7,000 to $10,000. He balked at this idea if the council vote would be the same when the item returned.

The latest proposal from staff now includes the original four-year plan, a four-year plan with the option to revisit after two years, and a two-year option.

The meeting takes place at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 1000 Webster St.

Reach Danny Bernardini at 427-6935 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dbernardinidr.

Danny Bernardini

Danny Bernardini

Danny is a newspaper man born and raised in Vacaville. He attended Chico State University and has written for the Enterprise Record and the Reporter. Covers the City of Fairfield, education and crime. A's, Warriors and Saints fan. Listener of vinyl, frequent visitor to the East Bay. Registered "decline to state" voter. Loves a good steak.

Discussion | 3 comments

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  • Dexter FowlerMay 07, 2013 - 10:00 am

    Stick to your guns Moy & Bertani! We don't need ANOTHER rate hike. We have a tax increase we dont need MORE money out of pocket.

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  • Rick WoodMay 07, 2013 - 10:14 am

    Thanks for providing some insight into why the rate increase requires 4 out of 5 votes to pass. It's because it's an ordinance and not a resolution. A problem I assume can be corrected. If I understand the story correctly, the ordinance allow a rate increase by resolution if the City goes throught the 45-day notice, hearing, and protest procedure, which costs time, staff resources, and other expenses. So the two hold-outs are forcing the majority to spend that money and we end up in the same place. If you stay your course, well done, ladies! (That was sarcasm in case anyone missed it.) I appreciate the three Councilmen who are providing responsible governance.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Typical County WorkerMay 07, 2013 - 8:59 pm

    What is wrong with a yearly vote, except it benefits the majority of residents struggling right now. Heaven forbid analyze the economic climate on a yearly basis. If raises are needed, which I am sure they are (PERS retirement payments?) then they can be made. I understand not wanting to be hit with a major increase all at once, but if done correctly (asking a lot for government) it could be incremental while still protecting the residents from extreme poverty.

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