News Update!!: Needles, CA: Getting a better explanation regarding wastewater rates on local religious organizations.
Members of the Needles Public Utility Authority and Needles City Council voted unanimously to bring a representative from the company that did the initial report so to better explain and to possibly take another look at their findings related to wastewater rates on local religious organizations.
** Pictures from ZachNews: **
This voted unanimously came after several representatives and members of area local churches stood in front of members of the Needles City Council during a Needles City Council and Needles Public Utility Authority Meeting held on Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 in Needles, California during public appearance on a request by Assembly of God Church Pastor Tom Lamb to revisit the Wastewater rate for the religious organizations.
Concerns over the new wastewater rates on local churches and the method or system use to charge local churches by the amount of seats; charging local religious organizations for more people then what they really have seated for the amount of wastewater produce has many people upset and want something done to fix this problem so it’s fair and not feel like they are being taken advance for.
– Needles City Council: 10-25-2016: Agenda Item #6.
** Video from ZachNews on YouTube: **
According to background information obtain from the City of Needles, on Tuesday, March 15th, 2016, the Board of Public Utilities adopted new wastewater rates, to be effective Sunday, May 1st, 2016 after an extensive public meetings/public hearings Prop 218 process.
** Information Packet: Needles Public Utility Authority Town Hall Meeting Utility Rates: **
On Tuesday, April 12th, 2016, the Needles City Council and the Needles Public Utilities Authority adopted the same as recommended by the Board of Public Utilities.
At the Board of Public Utilities meetings of Tuesday, April 19th, 2016; Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016; and Tuesday, May 17th, 2016, various religious organizations requested the Board reevaluate the churches and that their average weekly attendance be used for calculating their rates rather than the maximum seat occupancy.
On Tuesday, June 7th, 2016, the Board of Public Utilities approved a rate generating 90% of the cost for the religious organizations class plus use $1.27 per seat based on average weekly attendance.
At the Tuesday, July 5th, 2016 meeting, the Board of Public Utilities considered applying an average weekly attendance factor of 3.4789 to the religious organization customer class (the factor is calculated using the maximum seating of the group divided by the average weekly attendance of the group equals the average attendance factor).
On Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016, the Board of Public Utilities approved revised Resolution No. 8-2-16 BPU amending the policy for how the religious organizations are billed using the following formula:
“Average weekly attendance X EDU valuation (.03/seat) X factor 3.4673”
On Tuesday, August 9th, 2016, Assembly of God Church Pastor Tom Lamb submitted the attached letter to the Needles City Council regarding the above proposed wastewater rate formula.
The Needles City Council considered the Board of Public Utilities’ revised Resolution No. 8-2-16 BPU and Assembly of God Church Pastor Tom Lamb’s letter at that meeting and referred the matter back to the Board of Public Utilities for further review after the Needles City Attorney opined that the proposed factor applied to the rate formula exceeded the EDU rate that was publicly noticed in the Prop 218 notice.
After due consideration and discussion over the past several months and the opinion of the Needles City Attorney, at the Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 meeting, the Board of Public Utilities adopted Resolution No. 9-20-16 BPU rescinding revised Resolution No. 8-2-16 BPU and ratifying adoption of Resolution No. 3-15-16 BPU relating to rates for wastewater service.
At the Tuesday, September 27th, 2016 meeting, Assembly of God Church Pastor Tom Lamb again appeared before the Needles City Council at which time Needles City Councilman Robert Richardson requested that the matter be placed on the Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 agenda for discussion.
At the Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 meeting, when the agenda item came up for Consideration, Needles City Councilman Robert Richardson noted that, after further research, he was satisfied that the Board of Public Utilities had made every attempt to resolve the concerns of the churches and that the Board of Public Utilities’ action to ratify the original wastewater rates was proper.
Needles City Manager Rick Daniels agreed to resubmit the matter to the Board of Public Utilities at their next meeting, therefore, the Council continued it until Tuesday, October 25th, 2016.
The matter was again scheduled for the Board of Public Utilities meeting of Tuesday, October 18th, 2016 at which time Assembly of God Church Pastor Tom Lamb and Faith Chapel Pastor Lloyd Pharr were given adequate opportunity to reiterate their concerns with the wastewater rate applicable to the churches, the impacts on their respective church and its parishioners, and any other matter which they wished to address before the Board of Public Utilities Members.
No other comments were received at that time and the Board of Public Utilities took no further action on the matter.
This issue will be revisited by the Board of Public Utilities and Needles Public Utilities Authority in 2 years.
This latest action by members of the Needles City Council will hopefully get a better explanation on how this method or system that was use for calculating the amount of wastewater produce so to charge a rate on a local religious organization.
** Pictures from May 2016 from ZachNews: **
The method or system of counting seats so to charge wastewater rates comes after complaints over wastewater rates on the amount of seats at restaurants, seats at schools, and pumps at gas stations (May 2016) were raised to the Needles City Manager and members of the Needles City Council which all of those complaints have been already addressed and corrected.
ZachNews is putting a list of videos from pass meetings in 2016 discussing the wastewater rates matter, including the proposal for the water and wastewater rate increases.
– Needles, CA: 2-24-2016: Proposed Water and Wastewater Rate Increases.
– Needles, CA: 4-12-2016: Increase Rates Wastewater Service.
– Needles, CA: 4-12-2016: Increase Rates Wastewater Service: Part 2.
– Needles City Council: 5-24-2016: Public Appearance: Sewage Rate Increases.
– Needles Board of Public Utilities: 9-6-2016: Agenda Item #5(A).
– Needles City Council: 9-13-2016: Public Appearance.
– Needles City Council: 9-13-2016: Public Appearance 3.
– Needles City Council: 9-13-2016: Public Appearance 4.
– Needles City Council: 10-11-2016: Agenda Item #4.
– Needles Board of Public Utilities: 10-18-2016: Agenda Item #5(B).
– Needles Board of Public Utilities: 10-18-2016: Agenda Item #5(B): Part 2.
** Videos from ZachNews on YouTube: **
**** Stay tuned to ZachNews for more news updates with more information regarding this news story. ****