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Rate Increase Sparks Controversy at La Mel Heights

On August 30, 2012, the AWA Directors held a meeting with La Mel Heights ratepayers at Lockwood Fire Station to discuss their proposed consolidation of all systems. La Mel is the smallest of the AWA water systems.

La Mel residents expressed resentment at AWA’s broken promises from the past. More than 10% of La Mel ratepayers are paying for a new pipeline that does not serve them (they are still using the old pipeline that AWA mostly replaced, but are paying for the new one). AWA General Manager Mancebo claimed that operating costs exceed the revenue paid by users, and therefore there is no money to complete improvements.

The costs reported for La Mel are not fully documented, but include estimates. AWA expects ratepayers to trust that higher rates are needed, even though AWA cannot, or will not, disclose how they have spent the money already given to them. AWA does not even require staff to adhere to the budget being funded by the rate increase.