The Turlock Irrigation District Board of Directors will meet Jan. 13 for a public rate hearing regarding the proposed irrigation rate increases as presented in the 2015 TID Budget on Nov. 18 of last year.
TID irrigation customers have until Jan. 13, or at the meeting, to protest proposed rate increases, which as proposed, would raise the cost to customers by more than double.
Following the public rate hearing on Jan. 13, the TID Board of Directors will be able to vote on whether to approve the rate hike.
Presently, customers are charged $8.25 per acre-foot in a normal year, based on the water that is available to each customer.
Proposed increases would increase the blended charge up to $17.50 per acre-foot; the current $23 per acre fixed charge customers pay would increase $60 per acre.
TID and the Modesto Irrigation District have long had the lowest rates among area water districts. This increase, should it pass, would make TID the third most expensive, behind Patterson Irrigation District and Merced Irrigation District.
Although, according to TID reports, the neighboring irrigation districts are also increasing or considering increasing rates.
Larry Gilbertson, TID AGM of Electrical Engineering and Operations had attributed routine expansion to address customer growth and the need to upgrade lines as contributing factors to the increases.
The deficit between the $2.9 million in anticipated budgeted miscellaneous rates and fees in comparison to the $1.9 million actually received was also noted as a contributing factor; this was reflected in the passed 2015 TID budget that included a series of increases to electric rates.
Staff proposed increasing the fixed charge component of the existing water rate schedules which would raise the cost of water by varied amounts depending on the amount of water usage. There are separate rate schedules for normal and dry years.
The adjustments are based on the unaccounted water revenue, annual and 2013-14 revenue shortfall, membership and government relations costs, the SBx 7-7 Project, Lateral 8 Regulating Reservoir Project, Lateral 8 Total Channel Control Project, Critically Dry Year Annual Collection, Palm Street Operations Complex Project and the Water Master Plan.
Landowners subject to acreage based rates, per the State Constitution, have the right to protest the implementation of any new fees. Should a majority of local landowners protest TID’s rate increase, there is the possibility that new charges may not be implemented.
There was a 45-day notification period prior to the Board’s consideration of increasing fees on Jan. 13.
The District mailed notices to landowners with access to irrigation facilities, the affected customers, with an explanation of proposed increases with directions on how to file a protest; they received this notice in the mail regarding the matter.
Only those affected are able to protest; they may be dropped off or submitted via the Postal Service to the Executive Secretary at the TID Main Office, at 333 E. Canal Dr. in Turlock. All protests must be received prior to 9:00 a.m. on Jan. 13, 2015.
It is required that protests include the landowners printed name, parcel number for each property affected by the proposed increase, the reason for the protest, and a signature.
Each parcel is entitled to one protest; if a parcel has more than one owner, all must sign the protest; otherwise the protest will be counted in accordance with the percentage of ownership of the person or persons signing the protest.
Information on the proposed rate revisions are available here.
Additionally, the Board of Directors will meet to vote on a variety of other issues including:
- Approving applications for installations of side gates.
- Approving a five year lease agreement for the Patterson Remote TID Office.
- A resolution declaring some District property no longer necessary, authorizing some items for sale.
The public hearing will be held Tuesday, Jan. 13 at 9 a.m. to consider the proposal to adjust irrigation rates and receive public comment in the Board Room of the TID Main Office Building, 333 E. Canal Dr.