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Pasadena Directors OK 5.5% Water Rate Increase


PASADENA — City water rates will increase by 5.5% next week under a rate hike approved Tuesday by the City Directors.

The increase will mean that the average customer, who uses 13,464 gallons of water monthly, will pay $13.21 instead of the current $12.59. From April through September, when higher rates are in effect, the average bill will be $14.04 monthly, up from $13.36.

According to the Water and Power Department's long-term financial plan, annual rate increases of 5.5% will be needed for the next three years to meet the costs of improving equipment in the city's water delivery system.

Water department head David Plumb told the board that even with the increase, Pasadena's rates will be lower than those charged by most other city-owned water utilities in the San Gabriel Valley.

Plumb said the department is trying to cut costs and delay asking for additional rate increases until necessary. Director William Paparian, who cast the lone vote against the increase, said the city's water expenses are up because water department bureaucracy has grown.

"The Water and Power Department used to be run out of City Hall and now they have their own offices," he said. He also criticized conservation programs that have not reduced water costs as promised.

The increase will bring an additional $850,000 annually to the city's water department. The money will be used to improve the 77-year-old water-delivery system, Plumb said.

The rate increase was approved last month by City Directors but was rescheduled for more public hearings when Paparian objected. Residents received notices of the proposed rate increase after the first hearing, which gave them no opportunity to speak to the board about the increase, Paparian said.

Seven people spoke at Tuesday's meeting, all against the rate increase.

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