Our residents and business community has done an amazing job reducing water consumption; we are more than meeting our state-mandated goals.
The downside is the adverse affects our conservation efforts are having on our City's water fund. The City must purchase every gallon of water that we sell to our customers. Our cost to purchase water in 2013 and 2014 was $2.2 million. In 2015 and 2016 we estimate the cost will be $3.2 million.
As water gets more and more scarce, the price per unit of water goes up. The cost to operate the water plant decreases a small amount when water consumption decreases, however it is not nearly enough to cover the increase in raw water costs.
Additionally, in times of drought, the City incurs other unusual costs, including but not limited to extra efforts at fixing water line leaks, encouraging conservation, and converting over irrigation to recycled water. At the same time, water revenues are decreasing as we are selling less water. While the water fund can access reserves for a while, at some point we have to take action.
Between July 1, 2013 and June 30, 2016 we estimate that the City will have spent $6.7 million more than normal to purchase water, fix leaks, encourage conservation, and lost revenue. We upgraded some components of the water plant in order to make the most efficient use of the water we do have, and are converting as many water uses to recycled water (rather than potable water) as we can. We have tried our best to hold the line on rates, and have not increased them more than the usual CPI rate for many years. Our income from the sale of water in the 2013 and 2014 fiscal year was $4.9 million; we anticipate $4.3 million in 2015 and 2016, which is a decrease of $600,000. Simultaneously, the cost to purchase water increased.
We need to increase water revenues, and that means water rates. Individual notices were sent out to each water customer and property owner on Friday, July 17th. These notices explained the entire process the City followed to raise rates and how to appeal the increase. On September 1, 2015, the City Council received 30 written appeals and subsequently voted to approve the surcharge. Customers can expect to see the surcharge on their bills at the beginning of October.
ADDITIONAL DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION
Click here for the July 7, 2015 City Council meeting agenda and presentation for the Emergency Water Surcharge.
Click here for the Letter from the City Manager mailed to each water customer and property owner on July 17, 2015.
Click here to view the Proposition 218 Notice that was mailed to customers.
Click here to view a sample typical residential customer utility billing statement showing the current rates.
Click here to view a sample typical residential customer utility billing statement showing the effect of the proposed $2.00 Emergency Water Surcharge.
Click here to view the City’s current water rates including the $2.00 Emergency Water Surcharge compared to surrounding agency’s water rates.
Click here to view the City of American Canyon’s actual expense to purchase water for the years 2004 – 2014 and including 2015 proposed.
Click here to view the City of American Canyon’s Water Enterprise Fund Cash Flow Statement – 2011/12 – 2015/16.
Click here to view average residential customer sample billing rates for surrounding water agencies.
Click here to view Revenue and Expenses per unit of water consumed, 2010 - present.
Click here to view Fixed vs. Variable Costs, 2010 - present.
Click here to view the September 1, 2015 City Council Agenda Staff Report and Attachments