News


Zone 7 extends temporary drought surcharge

Board also OKs fixed rate amounts for retailers, direct customers

Tri-Valley residents will continue to see a temporary drought surcharge on their water bills as Zone 7 Water Agency's Board of Directors has approved the extension of the $0.57 per 100 cubic feet of water fee for another year.

In a statement following the Oct. 19 board meeting, the agency said it was necessary to continue the surcharge to make up for lost revenue due to lower water use resulting from mandatory conservation during the drought. Water sales for fiscal year 2015-16 were projected at 28,380 acre-feet of water, but only 23,648 acre-feet were actually sold, according to a board memo.

The surcharge was approved last year along with a three-year rate schedule crafted with the help of consultants hired to analyze Zone 7's cost of service.

Those same consultants were recently brought back to revisit restructuring rates to include a fixed component and to determine whether the drought surcharge should be continued.

That fixed charge for retailers and direct customers was also approved for the next two calendar years and varies per entity. The city of Pleasanton, which purchases water wholesale from Zone 7, would see a fixed charge of about $4.5 million for 2017, according to Zone 7.

Zone 7 staff said the fixed charge would allow them to no longer be wholly reliant on water use for its revenue and added in its statement that this move is unlikely to impact individual residential or commercial customers.

For more information on 2017 rates, visit zone7water.com.

Comments

13 people like this
Posted by Megan Haller
a resident of Val Vista
on Oct 27, 2016 at 9:35 am

The water rate increase sucks. Looks like my bill will go up 70.00 annually. Everything goes up and never goes down. This is unsustainable for many.


18 people like this
Posted by sanity
a resident of Amador Estates
on Oct 27, 2016 at 10:24 am

So let me get this straight...water rates went up because they didn't store enough and there was a shortage, and they fine us for using too much but then when we get usage down to where they want it they charge us because we aren't buying enough money BUT if we use too much they will still fine us. This is a classic case of abuse. I'd like to see some people getting fired over this. But you know that will never happen. Government accountability is now a thing of the past....we are no longer free citizens, we have become subjects to the crown.


31 people like this
Posted by Tired of water increases
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Oct 27, 2016 at 10:28 am

So let me understand this typical government reaction if I may...

"In a statement following the Oct. 19 board meeting, the agency said it was necessary to continue the surcharge to make up for lost revenue due to lower water use resulting from mandatory conservation during the drought. Water sales for fiscal year 2015-16 were projected at 28,380 acre-feet of water, but only 23,648 acre-feet were actually sold, according to a board memo."

I receive a penalty and increased water charges if I don't conserve over the past two years, and now I get an increase since we were all very successful in decreasing usage and helping to conserve. What is wrong with this picture? A lot... And previously we were notified of an increase to fund infrastructure replacement. In any normal business (i.e. business or Homeowners Association, etc.) a prudent and standard approach is establishing an escrow account with continual reserve additions from existing revenues over time to draw on when assets need replacement. 50 year life and you establish sufficient reserves to replace it when it expires in 50 years. Who is managing Finance for Zone 7 and who is on the board not to have managed this successfully? What rights do we have for a recall of key members that have not met their fiduciary obligations?

Now any rational business would respond to continued decreased revenues with adjusting expenses (reducing them) to account for the shortfall. And unfortunately that might mean frozen employee raises, mandatory 10% expenses reductions, or even personal reductions as those of us in the commercial market have experienced many times.

When are we going to get a level of professional management at Zone 7 that respects constituent "fundings" and manages the business for those same constituents?


13 people like this
Posted by Charlie Brown
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 27, 2016 at 10:34 am

It has been my experience, that when you hear the word "TEMPORARY" pertaining to a government, it means, grab your ankles.


10 people like this
Posted by Friendly neighborhood waterman
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 27, 2016 at 10:37 am

Damn it if you do...damn it if you don't. Nice job Zone 7. This is what monopoly does!

I'm watering my lawn every day, even when it rains. City sent me a letter telling me my usage was high. So, had a nice laugh. I want a green lawn and lots of flowers and fruits. So, I'm going to water my yard every day, like all the rich folks in town do.

Have you seen the yards in Ruby Hills?


14 people like this
Posted by klbears
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 27, 2016 at 10:49 am

Real businesses cut back expenses and sometimes employees if revenues go down because they have to stay in business. For gov't agencies they just increase rates.

We all save water and our rates go up. Use less, pay more.

What if your local restaurant did that. "Hey Bob, I see that you are not coming in here every week for your burrito, so we will have to raise your prices 20% to cover our costs." That business would go out of business or have to cut costs. Now a gov't agency cannot go out of business but they should look to cut costs.


17 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 27, 2016 at 11:07 am

And when all the apts on W. Los Positas and Bernal are filled we have to 'share' the water with them.
Build more housing units with more people and then fine us cause there isn't enough water.


8 people like this
Posted by Hotslide
a resident of Oak Tree Acres
on Oct 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Hotslide is a registered user.

Meanwhile, the cities involved continue to build unabated. Recently I saw an aerial photograph of Pleasanton, part of Dublin and East towards Livermore that was taken sometime in 1978. Obviously, there was the old cowtown, surrounded by huge amounts of open space and the lowland drainage area across from the fair grounds (now being bricked-in with apartments, homes and the Safeway stores.) This we are told is "progress" and the buildout of an ideal community. People pouring across the borders of course. There is now so much cement and so many buildings in the area that when it does rain substantially, the arroyo heading to the bay foams with roiling water from runoff. At every bend in the arroyo, large chunks of land and trees crash into it. For some reason the dimwits that run this State will immediately destroy any attempt to create anymore reservoirs, but creating another Los Angeles by bricking the area in, acre by acre is "progress". So here we are, thousands more people and buildings, and fighting to see which entity can suck more water from the delta. Out of control.


3 people like this
Posted by spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Oct 27, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Why does the city water center medians in the rain? I am able to shut of my sprinklers, are they not under the same billing plan as we are?


6 people like this
Posted by Mr Catch 22
a resident of Happy Valley
on Oct 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Okay so let's all conserve water so the water district can have lower water distribution and then they can turn around and jack up the prices cuz we'er not using enough water to adequately meet their quota ... ZONE 7 are you listening?


7 people like this
Posted by Savannah
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Oct 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Do they not see the absurdity what they are doing? Time to put new people in office VOTE Nov 8th


6 people like this
Posted by huh?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 27, 2016 at 7:45 pm

Unfortunately, the election for Zone 7 Board members was in June. The 3 incumbents were returned to office. Remember this in June of 2018 when the other 4 incumbents will be up for reelection!!


5 people like this
Posted by Map
a resident of Del Prado
on Oct 27, 2016 at 8:55 pm

It's good to be a government agency, one way or another the money always keeps comin, did zone 7 learn the "ropes" from the Bart Board or was it the other way around??


4 people like this
Posted by Fed up
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 27, 2016 at 9:57 pm

More government abuse...yet we keep voting for more of the same!


2 people like this
Posted by SHale
a resident of San Ramon
on Oct 28, 2016 at 12:29 pm

SHale is a registered user.

Gee whiz if a business knew for sure their revenue stream would go down.....way down you have 2 choices reduces expenses or increase revenue. Since you still provide the same exact services, you have but one choice.

Kinda standard for ALL water companies to do this during a drought where involuntary reduction is called for.

ker plop


3 people like this
Posted by huh??
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 28, 2016 at 5:15 pm

It should be clarified that Zone 7 Director Angela Ramirez-Holmes voted NO against extending the drought surcharge. It was a 6 to 1 vote in favor of extending the drought surcharge. Please remember this in June 2018 when its time to vote for 4 Zone 7 Directors.


Like this comment
Posted by res1
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Oct 28, 2016 at 5:29 pm

Is that the same Angela Ramirez-Holmes that works for the developers in town? I have seen her name listed as the campaign consultant for several elections in Pleasanton including working for developers who want to develop in the hills of Pleasanton, plus Neuron, the developer for Costco.


1 person likes this
Posted by Steve
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 7, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Time to cut administration costs.....have the agency ever considered this option than just passing on charges in good/bad water times. Zone 7 water is too hard, taste horrible and charge too much.


Like this comment
Posted by LanceM
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 9, 2016 at 11:06 am

Maybe if we stopped paying consultants to make the decisions that our elected officials should be making we can save some money. Are there not people on staff that have any knowledge?


Like this comment
Posted by evaa
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Nov 15, 2016 at 10:59 am

The water bills are outrageous! We all need to call and/or email the GM AND the Asst. GM for Zone 7! This must be stopped! They vote yes on rate increases (30%!) behind closed doors! Fire these crooks as soon as possible!


Like this comment
Posted by Fact Checker
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 15, 2016 at 11:16 am

Fact Checker is a registered user.

No rate increases are done behind closed doors. The Zone 7 rate increases were done in public meetings as required by law. The rate increases were voted on fall of 2015. The drought surcharge extension was voted on in September and October 2016. Every Zone 7 household was mailed a card prior indicating the agenda items both this fall and last fall.

Zone 7 meetings are held the third wednesday of every month at 7pm. The offices are near Costco at 100 N. Canyons Drive in Livermore. There is an opportunity for public comment at the beginning of every meeting. The Zone 7 meetings are broadcast on TV30 and are also on the TV30 website on demand.


Like this comment
Posted by patcher
a resident of Downtown
on Nov 15, 2016 at 2:27 pm

patcher is a registered user.

@Fact Checker. No one cares about "public comment", hence the situation we are in right now. I've attended public hearings, have spoken out and have voted. Our city leaders seem more than happy to make decisions to our detriment, decisions which cost us our hard-earned-money, affect our quality of life, and can't be undone. We've apparently become a breeding ground for greed. High-density housing construction continues to be approved at any cost, without any regard for the impact to our water needs, traffic, roads, schools, etc.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Pleasanton's home-grown "unicorn"
By Tim Hunt | 5 comments | 1,307 views

Ten Tips for Teens and Young Adults to Survive a Dysfunctional Family
By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,226 views

Can You Afford Your ‘Dream School’?
By Elizabeth LaScala | 3 comments | 441 views

The Five
By Jeb Bing | 0 comments | 291 views