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Revision of L.A. Sewer Fees Urged

November 16, 1994|HUGO MARTIN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Responding to complaints from San Fernando Valley residents, Los Angeles City Councilman Hal Bernson called on city officials Tuesday to reevaluate how they calculate sewer service fees and devise a more equitable formula.

Because there is no way to gauge how much sewage each business and home puts into the city's sewer systems, the sewer service fee is based on the amount of water used, assuming that most of the water is returned to the sewer system.

But Bernson said the assumption is often wrong, particularly for Valley residents with large lots who put most of their water into gardens, orchards and lawns and not into the sewer system. In hot climates, more water is spent outdoors, he said.

"The biggest grievance I hear in my community is about our inequitable system of sewer services charges," he said. "People believe this is highway robbery and they are mad as hell about it."

Bernson has asked that city officials consider revising the formula to provide a break for water customers with large lots that are located in hot climates.

The formula proposed by Bernson would mirror a formula being considered by city officials for calculating water rates.

A citizens committee appointed by Mayor Richard Riordan has suggested that the city's Department of Water and Power provide breaks for customers with large lots in hot climates.

Bernson asked that city engineers and utility officials study his proposal and draft a report for the council within 90 days.

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