The City of Del Mar provides water, wastewater and clean-water services for residents and commercial customers. Every five years, charges for these utilities are subject to review and in spring 2019, the City initiated a process of analyzing rates, publishing notices and scheduling public hearings as required under Proposition 218.
On a 5-0 vote May 20, the City Council approved rate increases for water and wastewater services and agreed to evaluate next steps for clean-water charges during the next five years. Watch a video of the City Council's public hearing on utility rates and charges.
A second reading of ordinances to increase the utility rates is scheduled for July 3. The new rates are anticipated to apply to the first full billing period after July 3.
Earlier, on March 18, the City Council received presentations and a consultant’s rate studies for water, wastewater and clean-water (storm-water pollution prevention) services. According to the studies, rate increases are necessary to cover the cost for providing service, to keep pace with increased charges from outside agencies, and to fund capital improvements needed to ensure the safety and reliability of the systems.
Rate Proposal: July 2019
Based on the proposed rates, starting in July 2019, a typical single-family residential household customer that uses 17 units of water (about 13,500 gallons) during a two-month period would experience a combined monthly increase of about $23 -- $8.03 for water, $11.09 for wastewater, and $4.00 for clean-water. A similar rate increases would begin January 1, 2020, and on the following New Year’s Days through 2024.
The City’s water, wastewater, and clean-water functions are stand-alone services that rely on revenue paid by the users to cover the cost of providing those services, though historically, the clean-water program has been partially subsidized by the City’s General Fund.
Collectively, for all three services, the proposed rate increases would generate nearly $5 million over the five-year rate period for critical maintenance and rehabilitation of water, sewer pipes and storm drain infrastructure throughout the City.
The Del Mar Public Works Department provides water service to nearly 1,900 metered accounts, including residential, commercial, public facilities and the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The system includes: 27 miles of water mains; four storage reservoirs totaling 4 million gallons of capacity; approximately 990 valves, and 350 fire hydrants. Through 2024, nearly $1.8 million in system improvements, including pipeline and valve upgrades, would be completed with funding from the rate increase.
The Del Mar Public Works Department operates a sewer system serving nearly 1,700 connections. The City contracts with the San Elijo Wastewater Joint Powers Authority and the City of San Diego Metropolitan Wastewater System to treat its sewage. The wastewater system includes: nearly 25 miles of sewer pipe; four miles of force main; two pump stations and approximately 590 manholes. Through 2024, a capital improvement program envisions nearly $2 million in improvements through, including $1.3 million in repairs that are considered urgent.
The purpose of the clean-water program is to prevent urban runoff from polluting the ocean and lagoons. The program includes water-quality monitoring; street, sidewalk and storm drain cleaning and maintenance; construction site inspections, permit fees and public education. The capital improvement plan for the clean-water shows more than a dozen projects totaling nearly $1.1 million through 2024.