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Sunday, 10 December 2017 20:51

Ballot to Protest Doubling Water Bills Due Tuesday, Many Unaware

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Ballot to Protest Doubling Water Bills Due Tuesday, Many Unaware TurlockCityNews.com
On Tuesday night, the Turlock City Council will consider approving a water rate increase on customers that would double their bill over the next five years. The rate hike is to pay for improvements to the City’s drinking water system, including the construction of the $278 million Regional Surface Water Supply Project.

Under Prop 218, at least 50 percent plus one written protests must be submitted in writing to stop the water rate increase that the City Council is expected to approve at the Dec. 12 public hearing during the City Council meeting starting at 6 p.m.

Property owners and ratepayers received protest ballots in their utility bills for the water rate increase, sent out on Oct. 17. However, many renters were not sent these ballots in the mail as they are not the direct account holder. Renters can request a ballot at the City of Turlock or go online to the City of Turlock website and visit the Water Sewage and Garbage Services page.

With a water rate hike being recommended by City Staff to be approved by the City Council, some residents are hurrying to turn in their protest ballots. Many customers did not see their protest ballot or may not be able to find it, now.

Those who did not receive a ballot or lost it can find one online at the City of Turlock website. There, a PDF link (click here to view and download) describes the proposed increase to water rates, under Proposition 218 and provides a protest ballot.

The ballot explains that an owner or tenant of property that receives city water service may protest the proposed increased service charges by submitting a written protest by mail or in person to the City of Turlock, City Clerk, 156 S. Broadway, Ste. 230, Turlock, CA 95380. This means that all written protests must be received (not postmarked) by the City before or up to the conclusion of the public hearing on Dec. 12.

Also, according to the ballot, “Each protest must (1) be in writing;
(2) state opposition to the proposed water rate increase; (3) provide the
location of the identified parcel (by assessor's parcel number or street address);
and (4) include the original signature of the customer submitting the protest.”

Only one written protest per customer will be counted towards the protest.

The ballot also notes that any protest submitted by email or other electronic means will not be accepted.

Rates would increase from $36 per month to about $80 per month, using the City’s calculation example.

The public hearing where protests will be heard and the written protests tabulated will take place that the Turlock City Council meeting, to be held at 6 p.m. in the Yosemite Room of City Hall, located at 156 S. Broadway Avenue.

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