Nevada City Council: Phase in new water rates over three years |

Nevada City Council: Phase in new water rates over three years

Water rates will likely be inching up for Nevada City residents, who have long enjoyed a low flat rate on their bills.

Setting a pay-as-you-use scale would encourage water conservation, councilmembers said at their meeting Wednesday.

The council directed staff and volunteer Mike Forga to draft a tiered pay scale that would charge depending on the amount of water a customer uses.

The system would be rolled out over the next three years, increasing rates for customers who use high amounts of water and helping the city to cover costs.

In fiscal year 2008-09, the city paid $250,000 more into the water fund than the water bills raised; the rate increases will be set so at the end of three years, the city will no longer be “subsidizing” water.

Raising rates too quickly could strain residents, councilwoman Sally Harris warned.

She advocated a phased approach, so residents would have time to change their water use habits before getting hit with high bills.

A draft pay scale is set to be presented at the council’s next meeting. A public hearing must follow before any rates increase.

Currently, residents pay $28 a month for up to 25,000 gallons of water, which is lower than Grass Valley or NID customers pay.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail or call (530) 477-4247.

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