Tough times could get tougher with starting July 1 for Milpitas residents. Ratepayers will likely see a bump in their flat fees and tiered rates for water. Single-family homes paying $71 every two months for sewer could shell out about $5 each additional year.
That's because seismic upgrades are needed for the city's aging infrastructure (more than 200 miles of pipeline) as well as to ensure the Hetch Hetchy water system holds up in the event of an earthquake. And then factor in the city's share of the costs to rebuild the nearby sewage treatment plant (which dates back to the World War II era). But the other question is could we afford not to update our infrastructure?
Four years ago, the City Council did not approve a two-year increase in water and sewer rates.
"What happens is you kick the can down the road," Greg Armendariz, public works director, said at the public information meeting on March 26. He estimates the city's own seismic infrastructure project could require eight to 10 years to complete.
"If locally we don't increase the rates, we still have to buy the water at a higher rate," said City Manager Tom Williams, which would leave the city to subsidize the costs for ratepayers. Both of Milpitas' wholesale water suppliers, Hetch Hetchy and Santa Clara Valley Water District, project they will raise rates.
About 64 percent of each household and commercial bill goes toward paying the wholesale water purchases and wastewater treatment services. About 24 percent goes toward city operations and 12 percent is for city infrastructure, according to a city chart.
An upcoming at 6:30 p.m. at the Barbara Lee Senior Center.