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More Utility Rate Hikes - 17% + 13%

Original post made by resident, Evergreen Park, on Jun 1, 2011

You should have received a notice in your utility bill in late April or early May notifying you of a planned water rate increase of 17 percent and sewage increase of 13 percent. These hikes are partly to pay for upgrading the Hetch Hetchy Water System, and the bill stated that those objecting can formally protest.

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Comments (3)

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Posted by Utilities customer
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I don't object to paying something in order to upgrade the aging Hetch Hetchy water system. But I do object to the city using the utility rates to collect stealth taxes from Palo Alto residents, as it's been doing for years.

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Posted by Palo Alto's Hidden Tax
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 2, 2011 at 11:33 am

Wow.. Why are they raising the rate by 13%. While they are at it let them raise it by 30%.

All the folks "not-objecting" to upgrade Hetch Hetchy should get their say. I changed my mind while writing this message... Let us raise it by 60%.

oops, how about 100%. We are Palo Alto Idiots, we like to be punished!!

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Posted by Anna
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 2, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Palo Alto has been using the Utility Department as a slush fund for decades because hikes in rates are (arguably) not subject to voter approval as are other taxes and fees.

Thus, to get around the necessity of having voters weigh in on tax hikes, the City uses subterfuge to pay for things with non-approved utility rate money. For example, the Utility department "leases" property from the City at rates many multiples of market rates and uses the money in the general fund. It has transferred many functions previously paid out of General city funds to the Utility Department (street light maintenance,for example)getting the money off the tax limited general fund budget and onto the utility budget - where fees can be arbitrarily raised to offset the new costs. And on and on.

The general fund and the utility funds are both of course money contributed almost solely by Palo Alto residents and businesses. We pay it as taxes or as utility payments. But taxes are harder to raise than utility rates ... so we get the rate rises complained of in the original post.

Next time you pay your utility bill, think of the PA employees retired with six figure pensions at 55 or 60...and get ready for more of the same.

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