Drought is Here - A mandatory 20% reduction in water use is currently in effect for City of Sonoma Water Customers.

FAQ Topic: Water Rates FAQs

What do I have to do to protest the water rate increase?

Written protests can be mailed to the City Clerk or delivered in person. If you would like to protest these proposed water rates, you need to send a signed, written (not emailed) protest to the office of the City Clerk of the City of Sonoma by 6 pm on Mon- day, August 20, 2018. You … Continued

Why did I get two letters?

The City sent letters to all the utility account holders (rate payers) in addition to all the property owners. If you own your home and are a water customer, you may get two letters. This occurred when there were differences between the name listed on the water account and the name listed on the County … Continued

What is Proposition 218?

California voters adopted Proposition 218 in November 1996 to amend the State Constitution to establish the process by which public agencies can raise taxes or service fees. It requires greater public involvement in water rate-making. Among other things, Proposition 218 requires the City to mail a notice of proposed water rates to every property owner … Continued

Why doesn’t new development pay for capital improvements?

New development does pay a one-time connection fee to “buy in” to the system. New development is also required to pay for and install infrastructure required to serve it. Capital improvements funded by customers’ rates are needed to maintain and improve the water sys- tem for the benefit of current users, not to serve new … Continued

Did the rate structure change?

Yes, the number of tiers (amounts of water available at progressively higher prices to encourage conservation) for the volumetric charges for Single Family customers are to be reduced from four to three. The amount of water available in each tier is also changed to reflect legal requirements. Tiers for other customer categories were replaced with … Continued

What is the difference between fixed and usage rates?

The City charges both a fixed monthly service charge and a water use or “volumetric” rate. The fixed service charge is based on the size of a meter and is a flat sum due each month without respect to water use. All Single Family Residential users pay the same monthly charge because the small differences … Continued

Why did the City do another water rate study?

Water rate studies are usually done every four or five years. The 2014 Water Rate Study came just before an important court decision which changed how water rates are calculated under Proposition 218 (a State law regulating rates), particularly regarding tiered rates (rates that increase with consumption to encourage conservation). In light of this and … Continued

Is this rate increase going to pay for better utility services?

Yes. The rate increase is needed to maintain the current level of ser- vice, improve infrastructure, and to maintain reliable and safe water service. Without these increases, the public could see reduced service levels, higher future costs due to deferred maintenance, and decreased reliability. The increase will also fund fire flow improvements to protect public … Continued

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