Frequently Asked Questions About Proposed Rates Increases and Prop 218

Frequently Asked Questions About Proposed Rates Increases and Prop 218

Frequently Asked Questions about Proposed Rates Increases and Prop 218

How can I dispute/protest?
Please mail or hand-deliver written protests to:
Clerk to the Board, Casitas Municipal Water District
1055 Ventura Avenue, Oak View, California 93022

Protests must identify, by street address or Assessor’s Parcel Number, the parcel(s) in which the party signing the protest has an interest.Emailed, faxed, or electronic protests will not be accepted. Protests may be submitted at the public hearing, but must be received by Casitasprior to the conclusion of the public hearing that will commence at 3:00 p.m. on May 10, in the gymnasium at the Oak View Resource Center at 555 Mahoney Avenue, Oak View, California.

Can I dispute the proposed rate increases verbally?
No. Under Proposition 218, Casitas must receive a written protest with a signature. Verbal comments are welcome at the public hearing, but will not be counted toward a majority protest.

Do I need to send a separate letter to protest each service?
No. You can identify each service for which you are protesting the proposed rate increases in one letter or form.

I am a tenant; can I submit a dispute/protest?
If the party signing the protest is not shown on the last assessment roll of Ventura County as the owner of the parcel(s), the protest must contain or be accompanied by written evidence that such party is the owner of the parcel(s), unless the protest is by a tenant who pays the utility bills. Tenants who pay the utility bills can submit a written protest. If both the owner and tenant submit a protest letter, only one written protest per parcel will be counted.

Why is Casitas raising rates?
Casitas is committed to providing safe, reliable, and high-quality water service for our customers. As our water system ages, it is important to continue to invest in replacing and rebuilding it in accordance with a long-term, balanced financing plan. Based on a recent comprehensive cost of service study conducted by an independent rate firm, it has been determined that rate increases are necessary for Casitas’ to recover current and projected costs of operations and maintenance; fund capital infrastructure improvements vital for providing safe and reliable drinking water; maintain the operational and financial stability; and avoid operational deficits and depletion of reserves. The proposed rates are designed to bring in revenue needed to cover operating expenses and vital capital projects.

Where is the money going to?
Please review the comprehensive rate study on the website.

What rate increases are being proposed?Please see tables in the public hearing notice.

Why are rates set so far into the future?
A multi-year rate structure precludes the need to revisit the Proposition 218 process more frequently, reduces administrative costs, and allows our customers to plan for future costs more accurately.

Can Casitas ever charge more than the approved rates?
No. That would require starting a whole new Proposition 218 process.

What accommodations are being made for people on fixed incomes who just can't afford a rate increase?
Casitas is using some of its property tax revenues to subsidize the first ten units per month for residential and agriculture domestic customers. The first ten units are considered indoor use for health and safety. Most residential customers that use little outdoor irrigation will not exceed 10 units per month.

I heard about the rate increase, but didn’t receive paperwork. How can I get a copy?
You can download the Proposition 218 Notice on the website

How many protests will it take to stop an increase?
Proposition 218 requires a simple majority of 50 percent of the affected parcels, plus one. Casitas will count protests to determine if there is a majority protest.

What is the consequence if the proposed rate increases are voted down?
The rate increase is needed to maintain the current level of service for Casitas’ customers and pay for the costs of operating and maintaining a complex water treatment and distribution system. Without these rate increases, the public could see reduced levels of service.

When will the proposed rate increases take effect?
On July 1, 2017, July 1, 2018, July 1, 2019, July 1, 2020, and July 1, 2021, the Casitas Board of Directors will hold a public hearing to consider the proposed rates described in the public hearing notice. The hearing will begin at 3:00 the gymnasium at the Oak View Resource Center located at 555 Mahoney Avenue, Oak View, California. If adopted, the first increase would take effect July 1, 2017. All subsequent increases would be effective on and after July 1 of each year from 2018 through 2021.

How long will these rates be in effect?
The rates will remain in effect indefinitely or until the Casitas Board of Directors decides to change them. If at any time, the board determines less revenue is needed, it can then decrease water rates to match costs.

When was the last time Casitas raised rates?

Casitas last raised rates four years ago in 2013.

How will Casitas rates compare to other water agencies?

Casitas’ water rates will remain competitive with other water agencies in Southern California. Presently, Casitas’ water rates are the lowest in the region, but unfortunately this is not sustainable.

Where can I get information in Spanish?