The story is not over yet, and it took an interesting plot twist Tuesday night at the 2nd reading of the utility rate increases.
The council voted down (for now) the rate increases for water and solid waste (garbage collection). For each of those two questions, the votes in favor of the increase were Ramirez and Padilla, and the votes in opposition were Perello, Flynn, and McDonald.
The water and solid waste rates will likely be brought back at a future date, so it is not over!! We have to stay engaged on this issue. We will not accept the same increases at a later date, either.
The council did adopt the increase for the wastewater utility with the same 4-1 margin as before. As with last week, McDonald voted no, while Ramirez, Perello, Flynn, and Padilla voted yes.
The wastewater was the largest percentage increase of the three proposals on the table, with rates slated to increase by 88% over the next four years, and accounting for $675 million of the total proposed $1.23 billion of capital expenditures.
This one approved increase is by itself a lot to swallow. Once the wastewater increases are fully implemented, the typical household’s utility bill will still go up $326 per year whether or not increases are later adopted for other utilities.