The Rancho Santa Fe Post

March Water News...From the Desk of Marlene King

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March Board Meeting Update: Board voted 3 to 2, (Dirs. King and Gruzdowich opposed), to schedule a Public Hearing for Thursday May 19, 2016 at 8:30 am, to consider rate structure adjustments (4 tiers instead of 3 tiers), and rate increases. 

The California Constitution requires a Cost of Service Study (COSS) be prepared and a Prop. 218 notice be mailed to all District property owners and/or tenants who are responsible for paying water bills. 

  • The final COSS was received at the March Board meeting, and can be accessed through this link. (Section 7, Bill Impacts, pp. 53-54 is of particular interest.) 
  • The required legal Prop. 218 notice will be mailed out April 1, 2016. It is an eight page document which provides reasons for rate increases, fixed charges, examples of rate impacts, discussion of new pass through charges, rate decreases for separate fire sprinkler meters, and new water demand reduction rates/drought rates.

A series of three Community Forums are scheduled to provide the opportunity for customers to get their questions answered about the proposed rate increases. All three forums will be held at the S.F.I.D. offices on 5920 Linea Del Cielo, RSF. 

  • The first forum will be on Thursday, April 14 from 5:30 – 7:30pm.
  • The second will be held Wednesday, April 20 from 10:00am to noon.     
  • The third will be held on Tuesday, April 26 from 5:30 – 7:30pm. 

Proposed Rate Increase Percentages: Page two of the COSS Executive Summary states “…water service fees be adjusted to collect 9% more revenue during each of the three years, FY 2016 – FY 2018.” The COSS, pp. 53–54, does an excellent job of providing eight different usage amounts (5 HCF units up to 300 HCF units), for four meter sizes, giving specific examples of changes in dollar amounts of proposed bills in addition to expressing these monetary differences as percentage increases. 

You will find, however, that the Prop. 218 notice does not provide percentage increases, and instead provides four different usage amounts (15 HCF; 50 HCF; 150 HCF; 250 HCF).

I find it regrettable that percentage increases were not provided in the Prop. 218 notice. For those of you who do not have the time to click the link provided above, and review Section 7 on Bill Impacts, the brief data below gives a flavor of the actual percentage impacts of the stated 9%; 9%; 9% revenue requirements. 

Single Family Bi-Monthly Usage (HCF)
% Increase for 3/4" - 2" meters

5 units 
46.8% up to 35.3% (increase is regressive: smallest use = highest increase)

15 units 
8.1% to 24.8% 

50 units 
-4.6% to 13.4% 

100 units 
6.1% to 11.0% 

150 units 
10.1% to 12.8% 

200 units 
15.6% to 19.2% 

250 units 
20.1% to 22.3% 

300 units 
23.2% to 24.6% 

You Can Oppose the Proposed Rate IncreasesProp. 218 assumes that ratepayers who provide no response to the proposed rate increases, approve the rate increases. Therefore, written protest must be provided if you do not agree with the proposed rate increases. 

If written protests by a majority of the property owners or tenants are not received by the end of the May 19 public hearing, the S.F.I.D. Board of Directors will be authorized to adopt the rate increases.

Below is a sample of a written protest form.

I, [print first and last name], am opposed to this proposed increase to water and recycled water rates.

Property Address or Assessor’s Parcel Number:


Mail written protest in an envelope to:
SFID Attn: Rate Hearing
P. O. Box 409, Rancho Santa Fe, Ca. 92067


Please note: State law does not allow you to email, scan or fax your written protest: it must be mailed or dropped off at the District office, 5920 Linea Del Cielo, RSF. Only one written protest will be counted per identified parcel.

Providing Public Comment at the May 19 8:30 am Rate HearingThe Board of Directors will consider all oral comments on the proposed rate increases. However, by law, oral comment is not counted as written protest. The public is welcome to provide oral comment; if one wishes to protest the rate increases, one must also provide written protest which includes printed name, property address or APN, and signature, as noted above. All written protests must be received prior to the close of the public input portion of the May 19 Public Hearing.