Kern County Supers Vote to Oppose Water Rate Hikes

The hike would bump rates up by as much as 20%.

Bakersfield residents would see the biggest increase, while Kern River Valley customers would only deal with a 10% rise.

Kern County Board of Supervisors Chairman David Couch went to bat for his constituents, detailing who the rate hike would affect most negatively, "More than half of Cal Water's Bakersfield and Kern River Valley residents have low to moderate incomes or are senior citizens living on fixed incomes."

The Board of Supervisors’ dissent on the matter is echoed by the Bakersfield City Council, who announced their opposition to the rate increase earlier in the month.

Supervisors were frank with Paul Townsley, CalWater’s representative and vice president of regulatory matters and corporate relations. Supervisor Mike Maggard did not mince words, saying, “I’m going to be harsh with you, I’m telling you up front. Your company is a source of frustration for the 160,000 people I represent.” Maggard asked Townsley and CalWater to solve the cause of chronic overuse of water, rather than just penalizing users with more fines.

One point of agreement was the state of the infrastructure supplying water to Bakersfield. To that end, Townsley detailed a $74 million dollar project to fix pipes, seal leaks, and bring water meter technology up to date.

Despite that effort, the Supervisors still wants to see CalWater modify some of the terms on the agreement with the county. CalWater has no legal obligation to do so, but Townsley did say that CalWater was willing to discuss the matter.

The complete Kern County water story can be found here.

Image Credit: Flickr User beth-harper, via (CC BY 2.0)




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