If Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District officials approve the construction of facilities for water treatment, new businesses could see a slight increase in hookup fees, officials said Tuesday.
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However, any new-connection fee changesbased on an approved water-treatment plan wouldn’t take effect until the new construction was operational, which could happen in 2019, said Basil Hewitt, senior engineer for the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District.
“You could see increases in the service charges (if the construction is approved),” Hewitt said. “The principle being everyone would pay their fair share.”
Project approval doesn’t grant any authority to raise rates, according to officials.
That could only happen with public participation through Proposition 218.
“Approval of the Facilities Plan and EIR is required to secure SRF loans and to start design work on the selected project,” the documents state. “However, approval of the Facilities Plan and EIR would not provide legal authority to increase rates.”
A separate process would be used for setting rates that would involve multiple opportunities for public input.
At a minimum, the SCVSD must mail public notices to approximately 70,000 property owners at least 45 days before the district’s board, which is made up of Santa Clarita Councilwoman Laurene Weste, Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar and county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas hold a public hearing in the city of Santa Clarita.
Each public notice, in addition to providing information about the public hearing, must include the actual charges to be imposed on a given parcel and the basis for those charges.
If Alternative IV, which is the least costly of the construction options, receives approval, “the charges for new users would be based on the anticipated usage of the system,” according to Sanitation District documents.
The charges are based on a combination of flow rate and strength, which both affect the chemicals and energy required to treat the wastewater.
In 2019, which is the timeline given for new facilities, if approved, would be operational, the connection fee would increase by approximately $200 per sewage unit.
A sewage unit is a specific amount of discharge per household — a calculated average — which, currently, is approximately 260 gallons of wastewater per day, Hewitt said.
The charge goes up incrementally based on how much discharge takes place at the location, he added.
This means that if a location discharges 2,600 gallons of wastewater per day, the business would pay $2,000 more for its initial hookup cost.
“No one gets a free ride and no one gets double charged,” Hewitt said, of the proposal.
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Source: Santa Clarita News