VOICES - In order to become more Green, to remedy major infrastructure problems, and to meet various state and federal mandates, your utility bills are going to increase at a yet undetermined amount. This is not a one-time increase, but a regular annual increase, so, over a few years the numbers get really significant.
On Saturday June 5 there was a 2 ½ hour public meeting in City Council chambers, where Ron Nichols (the new head of DWP) went over both the critical changes and repairs (federal mandates and seriously decayed infrastructure) as well as a menu of environmental issues and sustainability concerns, which are not mandated but certainly are prudent. Actual costs were not discussed.
On Wednesday June 14 there was a meeting for the DWP commissioners to which the public was invited. Few showed up. This meeting covered essentially the same data as Saturday's; but this time numbers were attached.
There are multiple and varied items on the wish list menu as well as costs about which reasonable people will disagree. Your chance to comment is at any of 7 public forums. [Link]
There will also be a summary meeting on July 20.
During the comment period at the Commissioners' meeting I made a suggestion which, if implemented, will either reduce the increased costs or get us greater improvement in service and environment.
The costs you will hear about at these forums do not include city taxes, which amount to either 18% or 20.5%, depending on how your residence is metered. (Your bill will show either 10% or 12.5% city tax, and there is an annual fee of about 8% of revenues which DWP pays to the City's general fund.)
My proposal is that rate increases which have to do with conservation or sustainability or replacement of infrastructure be free of these taxes. The Department of Water and Power is in serious difficulty, and it would be just wrong for the City to increase our taxes for helping the environment and saving the system that delivers our water and our electricity.
So I ask you, all of you, to make this proposal at a neighborhood forum. If someone ahead of you makes it, make it again. If you can't get to one of the forums, do send an email to the Department (link) requesting that any costs to improve DWP and the standard of living in Los Angeles be tax free.
(Jeff Bruce is a community activist and a DWP ratepayer.) -cw
Tags: DWP, tax free, green
Vol 9 Issue 48
Pub: June 17, 2011