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City to hold public workshop on proposed water rate increases

POSTED February 14, 2014 8:00 p.m.

Although many have heard that the City of Turlock has been considering a proposed increase in water rates, not everyone may know what those rates will fully entail. Fortunately, the City will be hosting a public workshop on the matter, giving an opportunity to the community to have their questions answered.

Next Wednesday, the City of Turlock is hosting a public workshop at City Hall that will discuss the proposed increases to water rates that will soon be considered by the City Council in March.

If adopted, the proposed rate increases could begin as early as July 1. The new rates will apply to all utility customers who currently receive water from the City of Turlock, including single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, industrial, and landscape customers.

During a December Council meeting, Turlock Municipal Services Director Michael Cooke shared with the council members that the City will be looking to water rate increases over the next five years — a result from diminishing groundwater sources.

The City is looking to approve six rate increases over the span of five fiscal years for Turlock residents, according to Cooke. While rate increases for a groundwater only system is not ideal, the rate increases are said to be fairly modest in comparison to the rates necessary for a surface water supply. Since an agreement has yet to be reached with the Turlock Irrigation District for the Regional Surface Water Supply Project, city staff is recommending that the Council utilize the groundwater only system as the preferred alternative at this time.

Additionally, City staff says that the proposed water increases are necessary to cover ongoing operations and maintenance costs, future capital improvements, and debt service obligations.

The 2014 Water Rate Study and cost data regarding the proposed increase in charges is available online at www.cityofturlock.org or for review at the City of Turlock Municipal Services Department, located in City Hall.

The public workshop will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the Yosemite Conference Room at City Hall, located at 156 S. Broadway. Persons unable to attend the workshop who have questions regarding their water bill or the proposed rate increases can call the City Municipal Services Department at 668-5590.

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