Hawthorne city officials will wipe out their debt and balance their budget for the first time in about three years when California Water Services Co. begins leasing the city's water utility at the end of the month.
City Council members voted unanimously last week to lease the utility for a lump sum of $6.5 million in addition to $100,000 per year for 15 years, said acting City Manager Bud Cormier, who said the deal will give the city a chance to get back on its feet again.
"It's a big relief," Cormier said. "We were having some tough times and everyone was trying to think of anything we could to get rid of [the debt]."
When California Water Services Co. takes over, rates will increase from $26.96 per month to $29.22, said company spokesman Jim Good. Cormier said residents were due for an increase.