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Pleasanton considering three years of water rate increases, starting at 30% hike in November

Original post made on Jul 17, 2023

The Pleasanton City Council is set for an initial discussion on proposed increases to the city's water rates, starting at 30% on Nov. 1, during a special meeting Tuesday night at the city's Operations Services Center on Busch Road.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, July 17, 2023, 2:02 PM

Comments (29)

Posted by Long Time Pleasanton Resident
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jul 17, 2023 at 2:39 pm

Long Time Pleasanton Resident is a registered user.

Wow! By Jan 2026, a short period of 2.5 years, the water rate will go up by whopping 86%, almost 100% increase. This is before they start increasing other rates like sewer rates, EBMUD or Zone 7 charges. If 3M is going to be held accountable for the PFAS mess, we the citizens should not foot any of the costs now. Lastly, I appears we the consumers are being held hostage. If we use more water, we get to pay higher rates. However in the case of a drought, we also pay righer rates in addition to penalties [!!!] Because the water department didn't college enough funds to keep their operations running. This is a good scam.. no matter what, the water department gets to increase their budget.

Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 17, 2023 at 2:53 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

Do the math - over 3 years this is a 57% increase. On 100.00 today (example only) you’d be paying 174.00 in 2026. That’s insane. Our council majority of 4 is so fiscally irresponsible, how do they expect seniors on fixed incomes to pay an additional 57%? There is no cost of living increase that will touch this increase. Time for 4 people on our council to realize we are not going to allow them to shirk their fiduciary responsibilities to the residents of Pleasanton and act irresponsibly. Wasted money on a skate park improvement, wasted money on century house. They can’t or won’t even respond to a request for an ROI on the investment in the century house. 40+ days our Police Officers are working without a contract. Pleasanton residents elections have consequences and soon your pocketbook.

Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 17, 2023 at 2:56 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

As a follow up how can the council even determine what rate increases should go into effect when they don’t even have the recommendation from the expensive consultants they hired to study the PFAS situation.

“According to Tiernan, the city will also continue to work on assessing the city's different water supply options and in September, "city staff plans to present a preferred alternative to address Pleasanton’s water needs.”

Posted by Swagu
a resident of Avila
on Jul 17, 2023 at 3:06 pm

Swagu is a registered user.

Nothing like charging big $ for a basic human necessity. At least homes in the area aren't 7 figures!

No wonder working class and upstarts are leaving California in droves.

Posted by Willy
a resident of Old Towne
on Jul 17, 2023 at 3:17 pm

Willy is a registered user.

The rate increase is insane. Don't forget many have to have a home filtering system and soft water tanks to handle the water the City and Zone 7 supply. Our City council is totally incompetent and needs to be replace with people that understand the problems that the City has and handle them accordingly. 1ST AND FOREMOST GIVE THE POLICE THE MONEY THEY NEED TO RUN A 1ST CLASS OPERATION!

Posted by Mike Hosterman
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 17, 2023 at 3:31 pm

Mike Hosterman is a registered user.

Shouldn't we wait to see how much the city will receive for the 3M settlement before we start the discussion about raising the water rates? Will the meeting be televised?

Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 17, 2023 at 3:46 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

Mike - according to web site meeting will be on zoom or in person at operations center (not city hall).

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 17, 2023 at 3:58 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Salaries of city employees: Web Link

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 17, 2023 at 4:39 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

3M and PFAS:

Japan has produced PFAS for 100 years. Sumitomo Bakelite, Fuji Film, among the leaders. 3 M was founded in 1902, Kodak was founded in 1893. Why is 3M carrying the load?

All those other companies produced PFAS in far greater volumes than 3M. The microchip came along in 1958, it changed everything. it required more Monomer to deliver devices. Devices required a delivery system, which was carrier tape. Carrier tape is Polymer.

Monomer is reacted in fluidized reactors to produce Polymer. A million pounds of Monomer was reacted every day for years, (conservative estimate) When cell phones came along, the demand for Polymer increased again.

Each cell phone today has more than 250 capacitors. Those capacitors require a delivery system, Polymer carrier tape. The high-speed tape & reel machines, because of the static, would discharge, (fling out) the capacitor. To prevent that, a lead coating was developed to coat the carrier tape. There are tons of PFAS in our environment today coated with lead.

Posted by Just Another Resident
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jul 17, 2023 at 5:02 pm

Just Another Resident is a registered user.

So interesting that $$ could be "found" for the skate park and the Century House, which only impact a few residents (donors?), but not this, which impacts all residents in the midst of inflation.

When is the recall??

Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 17, 2023 at 6:03 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

Time to get tv news media involved, I sent this story to KTVU. Suggested they look into the 57% rate increase over three years. Suggested they look at the 40 plus days with no contract for our PD. Mentioned the lack of roi for a 4 million investment in century house. Told them about the 6 million spend on a skate park used by very few. I hope they do a tv news story. And I sure hope voters remember this!

Posted by MichaelB
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 17, 2023 at 7:31 pm

MichaelB is a registered user.

"Nothing like charging big $ for a basic human necessity."

Standard operating procedure for so called progressives. Everything you earn/invest/save belongs to the "community" to be shared/spent accordingly - until there is "fairness" and "income equality."

Posted by Pton Resident
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 18, 2023 at 4:53 am

Pton Resident is a registered user.

I'm no math genius, but 30 + 20 + 12 = 62 percent in three years.

Posted by Bob Heeter
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jul 18, 2023 at 8:21 am

Bob Heeter is a registered user.

This is a 75% rate increase being phased in … the complicated math conceals how large it is.

Suppose your usual bill is $100 now. the first 30% increase takes it to $130. The subsequent 20% increase takes it to $156 (not 150) since presumably it’s a 20% increase on the newer rate. The final 12% increase takes the hypothetical bill to $175. So overall that’s a 75% increase from the original $100.

It would help if the article would clarify two things: whether the second and third increases are in fact applied sequentially, and whether these costs will apply to all water charges or just the base rate for having any water supply at all.

Posted by 125
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 18, 2023 at 9:19 am

125 is a registered user.

Previous City Councils share blame for this significant increase — no increases in 11 years despite the drought and known PFAS / water-quality issues? What kind of responsible governance is that? I am not excusing the current city council majority, but their
Predecessors share the blame for this situation, too.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 18, 2023 at 9:51 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Previous city councils did not throw millions of dollars into an old house and a second skate park.

Posted by Becky Dennis
a resident of Foxborough Estates
on Jul 18, 2023 at 11:07 am

Becky Dennis is a registered user.

While people, myself among them, may disagree with some Council decisions, I do think they would be getting it right by supporting an increase in water rates. The need to pay more for quality water delivery is the inevitable consequence of our past land use decisions and the current times we live in. Postponing investment will likely only result in declining water service quality and increased costs down the line. You may still vote for different councilmembers in the future, but at least the adequacy of water service will have been resolved.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 18, 2023 at 11:50 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The bothersome issue is the water quality.
Rate increase will not improve water quality anytime soon.
Maybe rate increases will impress financers when city attempts to barrow money.

Posted by Dave
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jul 18, 2023 at 11:53 am

Dave is a registered user.

Lets see here.

*Proposed increases to the city's water rates, starting at 30% on
*Single-family residential customers increase of about $33 every other month during the first year
*Beaudin said in the July 13 press release. "A recently released study by the U.S. Geological Survey shows that 45% of the drinking water provided from private wells and public supplies across the country indicates evidence of PFAS contaminants."

Yet the city is mandating new housing somewhere in the neighborhood of 4,00 to 6,000 Units, Disproportionately Located on the North West Side of Pleasanton.

Where is the water going to come from to supply 4k to 6k Families?
How are we supposed to ration when we will be adding 4k to 6k Units.

The simple solution it to increase water supply. The leaders in this state many many years ago build a water supply system that could withstand 4 to 5 years of drought.

We need to use our water collection more efficiently.

Posted by Swagu
a resident of Avila
on Jul 18, 2023 at 11:55 am

Swagu is a registered user.

I bought a TDS water tester which tests water quality (about $15 on amazon). Most waters were fine (bottled, reverse osmosis) and tested low for parts per million contaminants.

The tap water in Pleasanton was over 500ppm, which is technically above EPA safe limits. Why are we paying more for a product with terrible results? For anyone who wants to try the test themselves get a water TDS tester on amazon. It's mindblowing how bad the water is and the price we pay for it.

Posted by Sharon P
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 18, 2023 at 12:05 pm

Sharon P is a registered user.

For perspective, Figure 1 on page 4 of the packet for tonight's Council meeting shows we pay far less than any other community in the area. Some currently pay nearly twice as much and Livermore pays about 50% more The article says that water rates haven't been reworked since 2011 - that's 12 years ago. There are also discounts for low income residents and seniors. To pay for PFAS we will have to pay higher rates to cover the cost of clean water. We've been lucky that our rates have been so low for as long as they have.

Posted by keeknlinda
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 18, 2023 at 12:38 pm

keeknlinda is a registered user.

Swagu, your TDS test is for Total Dissolved Solids. All it means is that we have hard water. Most of us know that, there is nothing wrong with it from a safety standpoint. PFAS/PFOS/PFhXs are unrelated to the mineral content (hard water) are remaining steady, according to the latest test results available to the city, per my own ongoing conversations and emails with city staff. A question I asked just yesterday.
I have stated ad nauseum that I've been drinking, cooking with, and washing clothes with unfiltered Pleasanton tap water for more than 50 years. The white residue that appears on sink faucets, where water accumulates happens when the total dissolved solids lose their liquid component and remain on the surface. A bottle of vinegar under the sink to use for an occasional wipe and rinse of those nooks and crusty crannies cures it just fine. Many women know a vinegar rinse for the hair can be a good thing, too, no matter the water source. Or you can choose, as you have done, an expensive whole-house filtration system. Not everyone can afford to do that, but to suggest they are at some sort of health risk because of it is just wrong. I choose the vinegar approach, seem to be advancing in age pretty well, so I'm not about to say our water is bad.

Posted by keeknlinda
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 18, 2023 at 1:30 pm

keeknlinda is a registered user.

Sharon P. the article does say that our rates are the lowest. I also asked for the source of that information and didn't really get a solid answer. I've spent the last 4 days trying to find a definitive answer and haven't yet been able to verify it. Pleasanton's water page is unwieldy, under improvement, but has been notoriously bad for years. I've been promised in 2 or 3 months it will be really good. I've been hearing that for 7 years, so forgive me if I remain skeptical until I see it. I promise I'll leap for joy.
Livermore's city pages are a joy to behold, and their water rate structure is clear and easy to understand. Like all water agencies, a lot gets packed in. Actual water use per unit, and in Pleasanton, water charges from Zone 7, Pleasanton sewer charges plus DSRSD sewer charges, meter charges, seasonal drought charges, recycled water charges, discounts for some, conservation advantages, etc., so saying there hasn't been an increase is questionable at best. The city is saying cost of living increases, which have been added until the last 3 years don't count. They have also changed to a fixed (infrastructure cost) and variable (how much water is used)component method of billing. That created an increase because even if you use NO water, you are billed the fixed component, both from Zone 7 and the city, because each has its own distribution system. Not saying it's wrong, just saying it is.
Confused yet? Zone 7 water and DSRSD increases were passed through to the ratepayer, aka customer. Semantics. That increases our utility bill, whether they admit it or not. Semantics again.
Staff is responding to a "FIX IT NOW" directive from council without even looking at these pieces in calling for the huge increase NOW.
If residents never attend, read about, or watch another council meeting, we need to pay attention to this one. We still won't know the whole story, but at least we'll come away better-informed than we are now.

Posted by resident
a resident of Danbury Park
on Jul 18, 2023 at 1:42 pm

resident is a registered user.

You wants us to pay how much for water that literally smells like poop, corrodes your pipes, barely meets Federal total dissolvable solid regulations and comes from wells infected with Forever chemicals????

Seriously is this a joke??
City council, care to respond?

Posted by MsVic
a resident of Mission Park
on Jul 18, 2023 at 3:46 pm

MsVic is a registered user.

Please go in person tonight to the meeting at the operations center - not being held at city hall - speak to this outrageous increase when they don't even know what the expensive consultants are going to propose. I wish I could attend, I will be there on zoom and will be raising my hand.

Posted by Debbie Wallace
a resident of Stoneridge
on Jul 19, 2023 at 5:15 pm

Debbie Wallace is a registered user.

I was at last night's council meeting. Given the importance and urgency of adding the Proposed New Water Rates to the agenda I would have thought it would and should have been handled with more importance.

Showing how wrong Council has its priorities. the water crisis topic was on the agenda AFTER a very long 2023 survey results presentation, and of course all the results had to be discussed, wasting a lot of time. Then to take up more time, Council patted themselves on the back for the “good” job the survey results showed, and in making sure that it was noted that they did not pad the results, or “stuff the ballot box”. Interestingly enough, with only 711 residents being surveyed out of 79,000+ residents, the results DID show the concern for our water. ..and no, I was not part of that survey!
..and how much did this survey cost us?

By the time the discussion on the Water Rates Proposal was up for discussion and all questions were asked and responded to between the City & Council, it was late and some of the potential speakers left. There COULD have been more than 5 speakers!

It was disappointing to see how last night's meeting was run, an eye opener on how the City has mishandled this water crisis, and to see all the poor judgment calls Council has made.

We DESERVED an explanation for this water crisis, and not in a last minute meeting, in the middle of the summer when many residents are out of town.

We DESERVE an explanation of how Council justified allocating 10 million dollars for the Century House and skate park projects. Council Member Arkin has stated that the $5 and $6 million dollar projects (for the skate park and century house) can't begin to address a water treatment plant. At least it would have been a start help to offset some of the costs. This is and has been a huge debt that will affect us all for years to come, and sadly we will still have terrible drinking water!

We need Council members with better judgment and priorities!!

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 20, 2023 at 5:37 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Regarding the survey the city council is proud of:

750 is what percent of 80,000? The answer = 0.96875 percent = less than one percent.

The people with comment on this thread is 99% disapproval for water rate increase.
The speakers against the water rate increase at Wednesday evening council meeting was 100 percent, against the water rate increase.
What part of NO does the majority on the Pleasanton city council not understand?

Posted by keeknlinda
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Jul 21, 2023 at 11:15 am

keeknlinda is a registered user.

Why not start by having the 55% of us who use less than 20 units pay into the pot? Conservation should definitely be rewarded, but if more than half of us are able to conserve at that high a volume, of course the funds will be depleted! Drop the number to 10 units and an immediate influx in funds will surely result. Yes, I'll be paying more,but shouldn't I be part of the solution, not part of the problem?
Look at your bill. How much are YOU charged for Pleasanton water? Do you use more than 10 but less than 20? Livermore figures it around 8.
And if we talk about Pleasanton having lowest rates, why don't we talk about Pleasanton's costs? Profit is strictly forbidden. Water agencies seldom are open and above-board about how much they actually pay for the water. It's there, but finding it in amongst all the other hair-splitting data, good luck finding it.
My guess is once it's found, it will have been less than others because we have had 3500 acre-feet of volume for no cost. Distribution cost, or Operation and Maintenence, sure, that's the same. But actually paying for water, not.
If we can have rates increased by 30% meeting the September deadline, we should be able to reduce the volume for conservation rewards by the September deadline.

Posted by Michael Austin
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jul 21, 2023 at 11:33 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Well, I agree with council member Jack Balch. We need a rate increase, however why not start it with 20%?

I sent that question to the city manager; I attached spread sheet for the previous five years showing our water consumption over the 60 billing periods averaged less than 8 units per billing period.

We have had two droughts last five years; out family's conservation effort caused us to lose 12 fruit trees in our back yard. Those family's that have conserved should have a break in the rate. Had they not conserved, we would be in a larger hole then what we have now.

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