LEMOORE — The city of Lemoore’s new water rate structure went into effect Jan. 1 and was reflected on utility statements starting in January.
This is the second year of rate increases of the four-year plan approved during the Aug. 16, 2016, City Council meeting.
The water rate study was originally presented by the city’s consultant Dan Bergman and former Public Works Director and current interim City Manager Nathan Olson.
The water rate increase was made to cover the cost of infrastructure maintenance and water treatment.
More recently, the city also put out a notice that they were still not in compliance with total trihalomethane (TTHM) levels, but they are working on that.
“Our water has proven to be one of the most difficult water sources in the state,” Olson said.
Next week city officials will meet with state representatives to assess solutions to fix the problem of by-products such as TTHM in the water. Olson said the hope is to be fully compliant by October 2018, but the state understands Lemoore may need an extension due to the “red tape” the city needs to get through.
Some people who drink water containing trihalomethanes for years may experience liver, kidney, or central nervous system problems and a potential increased risk of cancer.
The city’s notice suggested that health concerns about the consumption of Lemoore’s water be discussed with a doctor, but the city also said residents do not need to use alternative water, such as bottled or boiled because the TTHM levels are not an immediate risk.
In 2016, the city received only one letter in opposition. To have a majority in opposition, 51 percent of city water users or approximately 3,001 users would have had to write letters in opposition Olson said. A previous Hanford Sentinel article noted that Lemoore residents during April 19, 2016, council meeting understood that water rates would need to increase.
Olson said there will not be a reassessment of water rates after the coming 2020 increase. He also said the city is trying to save money which may prevent the fourth rate increase.
If the city completes the fourth rate increase, the water rates will be around the median price of water in the Valley at approximately $64 for 15,000 gallons of water in a month, the typical amount used by a family.
Olson said that if the city did not need the money, then the city would not ask for it.
If you have any questions or comments about the water rate increase, please contact the Public Works office at 924-6744.