The city of Galt is considering about a $3 rate hike for water, wastewater, storm drainage and solid waste.
While the city says it needs the money to keep providing the same level of services, some citizens say now is not the time to be increasing customers' bills.
"They should find money in some other area rather than putting it to people right now," resident Al Baldwin said. "Every time we go to a council meeting, our city manager says we are much better off than other cities. … So we should be able to scale back in other areas."
The highest proposed increase is 5.52 percent, for solid waste. The other three rates could see a 4.1-percent increase.
When looking at a customers' overall bill, Tier 1 customers will see a total increase of $3.17, while Tier 2 customers will have a $3.43 increase.
The rate increase would start March 1 and appear for the first time on April bills, unless the city receives written protests against the rate change from a majority of property owners.
The Galt City Council will decide if they want to change the rates and by how much at a public hearing Feb. 17. The hearing will be at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 380 Civic Drive.
Proposed rate increases at a glanceProposed increases and how they will affect residential utility bills:
- Water: 4.1 percent
Current bill: $22.31
New bill: $23.22
- Wastewater: 4.1 percent
Current bill: $25.81
New bill: $26.87
- Storm drainage: 4.1 percent for Tier 2 customers only
Current bill: $6.42
New bill: $6.50
- Solid waste: 5.41 percent
Current bill: $22.18
New bill: $23.38
- Total bill:
Tier 1 customers
Current bill: $97.73
New bill: $100.90
Tier 2 customers:
Current bill: $101.54
New bill: $104.97
To protest the increase, landowners must file a written letter with the City Clerk before the Feb. 17 public hearing on the rate adjustment. E-mails will not be accepted.
Protests should be sent to city of Galt, City Clerk, 380 Civic Drive, Galt, CA 95632. The hearing will be at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 380 Civic Drive.
In the letter, include:
- Your property's address or parcel number.
- Which rate increase you are protesting.
- Written confirmation that you own the property if you were not
the owner in the last Sacramento County tax roll.
Public Works Director Gregg Halliday said the city needs the increases to keep up with the cost of doing business.
"We did a rate study to estimate the costs for next year, including salaries, power and fuel," Halliday said.
The study also factored in capital improvement projects, which include sewer main repair for water and water pipeline rehab projects.
There are no increases included for wastewater treatment plant upgrades.
If the increases don't happen, city services will suffer, Halliday said. Street sweeping would probably be cut back, maintenance would be deferred and projects would be stopped.
"We also might not be able to respond to citizen complaints for leaky pipes," Halliday said.
While $3 may not seem like a lot for some, that is too much for those on fixed incomes, said Dennis Wire, who lives at Three Palms Mobile Estates.
He said between the rent for the mobile home park increasing and the higher utility rate, the residents are going to be strapped for cash
"This is going to wipe out our whole Social Security increase of 5 percent," Wire said. "We never get ahead. We never have any money to spend. We're lucky if we have $100 a month for discretionary income."
Approximately 200 protests have been filed with City Clerk Liz Aguire.
Baldwin said he knows there will be many more as the public hearing approaches, and there is a form letter going around for people to sign and turn in.
Even if not enough complaints are filed to stop the increase, Baldwin said he hopes the response will still send a message to the council that the citizens can't afford the increase right now.
"I hope they don't turn a deaf ear," he said.