Task force formed over request for water-rate hike

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Mayor Christian Price has created a task force in response to a possible Global Water rate increase.

The purpose of the task force, Price said, is to help the city work with residents and homeowners’ associations in giving feedback on the proposed increase.

For its Santa Cruz water system, which services Maricopa, Global Water is requesting an increase that translates into a monthly rate increase of $16.84, from $33.16 to $50, for a residential customer served by a 5/8-inch and 3/4-inch meter that uses 7,000 gallons per month. 

The rate hike would fund a 27.8 percent increase of Global Water’s current gross annual revenues, approximately an additional $2.7 million.

For its Palo Verde sewage company, residential customers served by 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch water meters would see an increase from $62.91 to $78.63, or 25 percent.

That increase would fund a 28.9 percent increase of its current gross annual revenues, approximately $3.6 million. 

Price said he seeks collaboration with residents, not a fight with the utility company. 

“You do have to be careful because the city does have a memorandum of understanding with (Global),” Price said. “This isn’t a war. I don’t think we want to appear separate on this.”

Since part of the review process includes getting feedback from the public, Price said he thought a task force was a way for residents and the city to “keep a watchful eye” on the process. 

Price pointed to the rate increase Global Water was granted in August 2010 as an example of the benefits of having “a collective voice.” 

That increase was almost $40 less than what Global Water originally requested, a fact Price attributed in part to the HOAs President’s Council forming a group of interested parties and persuading the ACC to visit Maricopa and hear feedback from residents.

According to a letter Global Water sent to customers, the rates will be phased in over several years.

Any increase would be capped at approximately 5 percent annual increase for the median residential customer, or less than $6 per month per calendar year.