Lebec County Water District Confirms Rate Increase

LEBEC, CA (Tuesday, May 31, 11 p.m.)—The Lebec County Water District Board of Directors voted on May 31, 2011 at about 10 p.m. to confirm that their water rate increase has passed. The four-person board voted 3-1 in favor of the increase, which will raise the residential base rate from about $12.10 for 1,000 cubic feet of water per month to about $36.30 for 750 c.f. per month.

About 60 people attended the public hearing. There were 51 valid protest votes cast, 98 protest votes total. Some were disqualified for not including an address or signature, but the total amount that would have been required to avoid the rate increase was 201, to achieve a 51 percent majority, directors explained.

The protest meeting was held at Lebec Community Church. Several spoke in harsh terms about hardships they felt the water rate increase would pose for families experiencing economic difficulties.

UPDATE: Others complained that the notices about the protest hearing and the "no" vote ballot were not sent out with the monthly water bills. The notice was sent separately. Some complaints were made by customers and LCWD Board Member Julie McWhorter that the notices were sent to physical addresses rather than to  P. O. boxes. Board President Steve Cozzetto denied this was factual. LCWD secretary Karin Willson brought the computer which printed the mailing labels to The Mountain Enterprise office on Wednesday, June 1 for examination. We did confirm that the P.O. box addresses were on the mailing list we examined.  —Patric Hedlund

This is part of the May 27, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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