The Los Angeles City Council’s Energy and Environment Committee considered a proposal Tuesday to increase sanitation rates, but delayed making a decision until more information is provided by the city’s administrative officer and the Bureau of Public Sanitation.
According to Lisa Mowery, acting chief financial officer for the city’s Bureau of Sanitation, the increase pertains only to the rates charged for sewer usage, and would be included in the overall bill customers receive from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The proposal is for the rates to increase annually over the next 10 years. During the first two years, the rate would increase 4.5 percent annually, followed by a 7.5 percent increase annually during each of the following eight years. Mowery said the average customers’ bill would increase $34 per year to approximately $359 after 10 years. Under the proposal, the changes would occur in steps to ease the financial burden on customers.
The increase is designed to provide funding to repair the city aging underground sewer system, as well as to pay for upgrades at sewage treatment facilities.
“What we are proposing is a rate increase over ten years to fund capital improvements to the waste water system,” Mowery said. “We have been talking with the neighborhood councils and letting people know what is being proposed.”
Mowery added, and the increases are necessary to improve the facilities and the city’s more than 5,900 miles of sewers. The changes are also necessary to comply with federal environmental standards, and to help the Bureau of Sanitation, which has cut operating costs by $27 million over the past two years, to begin fixing the system. According to reports, Los Angeles charges a lower rates for sewer service than many other major California Cities, such as San Francisco, which charges $85 per month.
Mowery said the Energy and Environment Committee may reconsider the motion at its meeting on Aug. 16, or may reschedule it for a meeting in September. After that, the motion would go to the full city council, and if it is approved, a notice about the proposed increase would be sent to all customers. Forty-five days after the city council’s first consideration, a public hearing will be held on the increases before a final approval is made,
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