Water Rates: Who Decides?
City residents, or elected officials? Some of you may recall Eureka's water and sewer rates took a big jump a few years ago after city officials realized they weren't charging enough to replace aging infrastructure. I believe Eureka's rates were raised with simply the approval of the city council.
Fresno is going through the same thing now, except some residents joined together for a referendum to stop the rate increase. Looks like they submitted enough signatures to put it on the ballot.
City officials fought the referendum effort every step of the way, according to Cal Watchdog. You'd think a referendum would have been the easy way out for them. The courts disagreed and the petitioning went forward.
Two questions remain: What happens if the rate increase is overturned by voters? Will the system fall apart as supporters of the rate increase claim. I haven't read any arguments by opponents that it won't.
Second, you have to wonder why the city fought against the referendum to begin with? Is their case so shakey that it won't pass voter scrutiny? Seems tacky at best, corrupt at worst. After all, if voters do overturn the rate increase and the system does end up falling apart, they'd have to increase rates to fix it. There might not be anyone opposing a rate increase at that point. As it is, Fresno city officials are looking bad to even to supporters of the increase.