Amador Water Agency is Raising Water Rates

The Amador Water Agency is at it again. Even after the Grand Jury strongly criticized their financial management, the AWA has voted to raise your rates before they put their financial house in order. And they're doing this at a time when many of us are struggling to make ends meet.

The most recent rate study shows that the average rate increase across all customers will be 31% over the next 5 years. Some system rates will increase by as much as 45%.

The rate increases will cost us $7 million over the next five years. And AWA has yet to say how they're going to use all the money. The rates are based on future budgets, but the agency hasn't followed its budget in years.

The agency's finances are a mess. Even after six months, they haven't been able to reconcile all of the problems with their last audit. And they're still trying to get upcountry residents to pay for an expensive and unnecessary Gravity Supply Line project. While the AWA makes it sound like the GSL will replace the existing pump system, the pumps must be maintained even after the GSL is built. And they have never done an engineering study to determine the cost of upgrading the existing system.

Fortunately, you have the last say. You do not have to accept the rate increase. If more than 50 percent of ratepayers and landowners protest the increase, it cannot go into effect.

Together, we can tell AWA that we've had enough. They need to run our water agency like we run our households: We don't take on debt we can't pay. We balance our checkbooks. We don't buy a Lexus when all we can afford is a Ford. We are responsible people who manage finances responsibly. It's time for AWA to do the same.

To protest AWA's proposed water rates, please fill out the protest form and return it to the address shown for the Ratepayer Protection Alliance - even if you have already sent a protest to AWA. (You can protest as many times as you like. Only one will be counted.) Returning your protest to the RPA will make sure it's not lost. We will present your protest to AWA on the day of the hearing.

If you have any questions, or would like to help, please call RPA at 223-0993.

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