Residents of Hughson will soon be paying $22.81 more a month for water, after the Hughson City Council voted to move forward with a rate increase beginning Aug. 1.
The average residential bill will increase from the current rate of $46.77 to $69.58.
The rate increase was proposed in order for the City to access Safe Drinking Water State Revolving Funds to help pay for the Well No. 7 Replacement Project in the amount of $8.3 million. The funding is expected to be provided at an interest rate of 1.663 percent with a 30-year repayment schedule.
The Well No. 7 Replacement Project includes an arsenic treatment facility located in the southern portion of the city. To completely eliminate arsenic from the municipal water system, a third compliant well is needed. Toward that end, the California Department of Public Health, now a division of the State Water Board, encouraged the expansion of the City’s new treatment plant project to include a third well.
The nearest well site to the new proposed site is Well No. 5, located in the parking lot of the wood truss plant on Tully Road approximately a quarter mile away. The existing Well No. 5 shaft would be abandoned and a new deeper shaft will be sunk on the same site. The water would then be piped to the new treatment plant site so that the city would have two water wells feeding into a central arsenic treatment facility. This project will satisfy the compliance order that the City of Hughson's Municipal Water System is currently working under. Failure to comply with the order would subject the City to strict fines by the State Water Board.
The City team hosted two informational workshops on June 17 and July 8 to provide information on the recommended plan and to answer questions from residents regarding the proposed water rate increase and the associated water system improvement project.
Residents had the opportunity to protest the proposed water increase through a formal written and signed response. The City of Hughson currently provides water service to 2,169 parcels and received a total of 39 written protests and thus insufficient of the majority needed to prohibit the City Council from taking action to move forward.
The City will move forward with the proposed water rate increase, and work with the State Water Board on a funding agreement for the Well No. 7 Replacement Project. The funding agreement with the State of California will be brought forward to a future City Council meeting for formal consideration.
The Hughson City Council meets at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Monday of the month. Meetings of the Hughson City Council are held at City Hall located at 7018 Pine Street, Hughson.