Turlock's water rates could rise as much as 88 percent for some users next year, followed by annual increases of more than 10 percent through 2023.
The figures come from a new water rate study, commissioned by the City of Turlock in May. Turlock's water fund lost more than $1 million last year, as costs to provide drinking water exceed current rates.
The study, performed by Municipal Financial Services of Henderson, Nev., suggests a radically new approach to water rates, which would lead to drastic changes in costs for nearly all Turlockers.
“Because of the differences, most customers will experience a large percentage change (either up or down) in their bills,” the report reads.
For some users, costs could fall as much as 33 percent next year. Though annual increases of 10 percent or more are still projected for the remainder of the decade.
Under the proposal, an average family residence using 15,000 gallons of water would see annual rates rise from $24.05 today to $26.90 in 2014 and $41.75 in 2023. High usage households, averaging 50,000 gallons, would fall from $55.50 annually to $43.70 in 2014, before rising to $70.80 in 2023.
Large commercial users, with 4-inch connections using 400,000 gallons of water annually, would see costs rise sharply from $191.50 to $360.20 in 2014, and $557.20 in 2023.
According to the report the increased rates are still considered affordable, as they are less than 2 percent of the median household income. Residential water rates would need to reach $83 per month to be considered not affordable by the State of California.
The new rate structure includes an option for funding the long-discussed $182 million Regional Surface Water Treatment Plant, which would convert Tuolumne River water into drinking water. Turlock would need to pay $68 million for its share of the plant, plus $20 million in one-time infrastructure improvement costs, and a further $2.6 million in operation costs each year.
Funding the RSWTP would lead to an even sharper increase in rates, beginning in 2016. By 2023, average households would pay $96.25 monthly, high usage households $163.10, and high usage commercial $1,278.40.
The Turlock City Council will discuss the study at their regular 6 p.m. Tuesday meeting.
To read the report, visit http://turlock.ca.us/pdf/downloadpacket.asp?dept=CityCouncil&id=329.
On Tuesday, the Turlock City Council is also expected to:
• Honor the retirement of Dan Madden, the Municipal Services Director and an employee of the City of Turlock since 1985.
• Present a Business Incentive Program check to Carl Britt, of Classic Colors. The program offers a $1,000 check to those who open new businesses in empty Turlock storefronts and complete a business plan.
• Extend a lease, allowing the Turlock Gospel Mission to continue to operate a homeless day center at the Turlock Youth Center, 1030 East Ave., for two more years.
• Appoint representatives to the Mayor's Economic Development Task Force.
• In closed session, conference with labor negotiators.
The Turlock City Council will meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Yosemite Room of Turlock City Hall, 156 S. Broadway.