HAYWARD -- The city is proposing raising water rates by 6 percent for next year and another 6 percent the following year, which would mean four straight years of increases.
The City Council discussed the rate hikes at its Tuesday meeting but took no action; a public hearing is scheduled for July 9. If approved, the increases would go into effect in October.
The average single-family residential consumer would see the bimonthly bill go up from the current $94.90 to $100.70 in 2014 and then to $107 in 2015, based on 220 gallons of water a day, said Alex Ameri, Hayward's director of public works, utilities and environmental services.
The main reason for the proposed increases is because the city is having to pay more for the water it buys from the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which brings water to the Bay Area from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.
"More than half of our cost goes into buying water from San Francisco," Ameri said. Hayward gets all of its water from the Hetch Hetchy system. "Every drop," Ameri said.
The San Francisco PUC is repairing and retrofitting its delivery system, at a cost of $4.3 billion, and passing along some of that expense along to its wholesale users, which includes Hayward.
"Over the next 10 years, we will continue to see substantial increases," Ameri said.
The city is facing a 21.5 percent increase for the water it buys over the next two years, but Ameri is proposing using reserve funds to reduce what its customers have to pay.
"When we get a 38 percent increase like we did two years ago, we don't want to pass all that cost along to our customers. We use some reserve to lessen cost," he said. "We do not have an endless pit obviously, but for a year or two I can smooth out these increases."
Commercial and industrial users also would see a 6 percent hike in 2014 and another 6 percent in 2015 under the staff proposal. But multifamily housing with more than five units and mobile home parks that use single meters will actually see a drop in their rates, Ameri said.
"Our mobile home parks and multifamily developments will see increases less than 6 percent, or even a decrease of as much as 10 percent because of new rates we have come up with," he said.
Sewer rates would remain the same for next year and then rise 3 percent for residential users in 2015, going up from $27.27 to $28.09 under the city staff's proposal.