News Alert!!: Needles, CA: Public hearing on Tuesday regarding increases in the rates for water and wastewater services.

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News Alert!!: Needles, CA: Public hearing on Tuesday regarding increases in the rates for water and wastewater services.

A public hearing regarding increases in the rates for water and wastewater services will be held during the Needles City Council and Needles Public Utility Authority Meeting on Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 inside the Needles City Council Chambers located off the J Street, next to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Colorado River Station sign and flag pole, at the Needles Civic Center located at 1111 Bailey Avenue in Needles, California.

Parking is located around the Needles Civic Center just off of J Street near the Needles Recreation Center or just off of Bailey Avenue near the San Bernardino County Needles Branch Library building.

The Needles City Council and Needles Public Utility Authority Meeting will start at 6:00pm PT with Executive Session starting at 5:00pm PT.

**** Agenda Item #3: Information from the City of Needles: Wastewater: ****

– Title:

Public hearing noticed to consider all evidence and testimony for or against a proposed increase in wastewater rates for wastewater service.

– Background:

There are insufficient revenues to fully fund water and wastewater expenses, including debt, operations/maintenance, capital improvements, and a prudent reserve. In 1997 the City sold the utility assets to the newly created Needles Public Utility Authority (“NPUA”), which in turn created $65M in debt which is being paid back on a long term payment plan including revenue bonds sold in the public bond market. The $21M bond sale was predicated on the establishment of an independent rate setting body, the Board of Public Utilities (“Utility Board”) and the assurance that the utilities would be funded independently and adequately in order to assure the bond holders that they would be repaid over the 30 year period of the loan. Since then, costs have exceeded revenues and the water and wastewater utilities need additional revenue to meet bond requirements and fulfill the NPUA’s contractual, financial and regulatory fiduciary responsibilities.

In early 2014 the NPUA initiated a rate review beginning with a Cost of Services Analysis. The Utility Board then established a target revenue amount and developed a detailed rate structure to generate those funds. The proposed wastewater rate structure was included in Resolution No. 12-1-15-1 BPU (revised). The City Council acting as the NPUA Board of Commissioners received the Utility Board recommended rates and initiated the process required by the California Constitution. (Proposition 218, 1998)

Public notice was issued (mailed) on January 29, 2016, identifying the amount of the existing and proposed rates, the basis upon which the proposed rates were calculated, and the reason for the proposed rate increase, , and setting a time and place for a public hearing for the Utility Board and NPUA/City Council. The public hearing notice was published in the Needles Desert Star on February 17, 2016. Additionally staff conducted 8 community meetings and numerous meetings with individuals at which ratepayers could receive comprehensive information and determine the proposed rate impact to them and their property and fully understand the water and wastewater utilities and their funding needs. Approximately 100 ratepayers attended the community meetings, met with NPUA staff, or received a presentation of the proposed rates.

On March 15, 2016 the Utility Board conducted and concluded a duly noticed public hearing concerning the recommended rate increases and considered all written and oral comments presented. No majority protest to the recommended increases was presented under Proposition 218. At the close of the public hearing the Utility Board adopted Resolution No. 3-1516-1 BPU establishing rates for wastewater service, subject to approval by the NPUA and City Council.

– Fiscal impact:

Additional revenues to the wastewater utility to fund expenses.

– Environmental Impact:

N/A

– Recommended Action:

Needles Public Utility Authority Action: Resolution No. 4-12-2016-NPUA approving rates for wastewater service effective May 1, 2016 and rescinding all prior resolutions relating to the establishment of wastewater rates.

Needles City Council Action: Resolution No. 2016-19 approving rates for wastewater service effective May 1, 2016 and rescinding all prior resolutions relating to the establishment of wastewater rates.

– Submitted By:

Rick Daniels, City Manager.

**** Agenda Item #4: Information from the City of Needles: Water: ****

– Title:

Public hearing noticed to consider all evidence and testimony for or against a proposed increase in water rates for water service.

– Background:

There are insufficient revenues to fully fund water and wastewater expenses, including debt, operations/maintenance, capital improvements, and a prudent reserve. In 1997 the City sold the utility assets to the newly created Needles Public Utility Authority (“NPUA”), which in turn created $65M in debt which is being paid back on a long term payment plan including revenue bonds sold in the public bond market. The $21M bond sale was predicated on the establishment of an independent rate setting body, the Board of Public Utilities (“Utility Board”) and the assurance that the utilities would be funded independently and adequately in order to assure the bond holders that they would be repaid over the 30 year period of the loan. Since then, costs have exceeded revenues and the water and wastewater utilities need additional revenue to meet bond requirements and fulfill the NPUA’s contractual, financial and regulatory fiduciary responsibilities.

In early 2014, the NPUA initiated a rate review beginning with a Cost of Services Analysis. The Utility Board then established a target revenue amount and developed a detailed rate structure to generate those funds. The proposed water rate structure was included in Resolution No. 12-1-15 BPU (Revised). The City Council acting as the NPUA Board of Commissioners received the Utility Board recommended rates and initiated the process required by the California Constitution (Proposition 218, 1998).

Public notice was issued (mailed) on January 29, 2016, identifying the amount of the existing and proposed rates, the basis upon which the proposed rates were calculated, and the reason for the proposed rate increase, , and setting a time and place for public hearings for the Utility Board and NPUA/City Council. The public hearing notice was published in the Needles Desert Star on February 17, 2016. Additionally staff conducted 8 community meetings and numerous meetings with individuals at which ratepayers could receive comprehensive information and determine the proposed rate impact to them and their property and fully understand the water and wastewater utilities and their funding needs. Approximately 100 ratepayers attended the community meetings, met with NPUA staff, or received a presentation of the proposed rates.

On March 15, 2016, the Utility Board conducted and concluded a duly noticed public hearing concerning the recommended rate increases and considered all written and oral comments presented. No majority written protest to the recommended increases was presented under Proposition 218. At the close of the public hearing the Utility Board adopted Resolution No. 315-16-1 BPU establishing rates for wastewater service, subject to approval by the NPUA and City Council.

– Fiscal Impact:

Additional revenues to the water utility to fund expenses.

– Environmental Impact:

N/A

– Recommended Action:

Needles Public Utility Authority Action: Resolution No. 4-12-2016-1-NPUA approving rates for water service effective May 1, 2016 and rescinding all prior resolutions relating to the establishment of water rates.

Needles City Council Action: Resolution No. 2016-20 approving rates for water service effective May 1, 2016 and rescinding all prior resolutions relating to the establishment of water rates.

– Submitted By:

Rick Daniels, City Manager.

**** You can view other City of Needles meetings agendas at the following City of Needles website address: ****

http://www.cityofneedles.com/Pages/Departments-Services/Boards/1-2016%20CITY%20MEETINGS.html

For more information regarding the Needles City Council Meetings, please contact Dale Jones in the City Clerk’s Office at the City of Needles at: 1 (760) 326-2113 Ext. 345.

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