Helix Water District Board of Directors approved an adjustment to water rates and service charges for fiscal years 2023-24 through 2026-2027 on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. The approved rate adjustments will appear on water bills starting July 1, 2023. These rates and charges were based on recommendations made by an independent rate consultant.
The consultant determined that the adjustments were necessary for the continued reliable delivery of water to the Helix service area and to meet required financial reserves. The district is experiencing rising operating costs and capital replacement expenses resulting in part from inflation and increased legal and regulatory requirements.
“The rate adjustments are important for maintaining our current service levels and completing critical infrastructure maintenance and replacement projects that keep our delivery system running smoothly and efficiently for the 277,000 people we serve,” Helix Water District General Manager Brian M. Olney said.
The board passed the new water rates and service charges following a public hearing. The rates take effect for water use starting May 1, 2023, and will be adjusted annually through May 1, 2026. Under the new rates, the district’s average single-family residential customer will see an increase of $3.39 a month. Individual customer impacts will vary based on meter size, water usage and customer type.
The public hearing and subsequent vote followed a year of financial analysis and cost-cutting measures by the district, including a retrofit of the Tunnel Hill tanks at a savings of over $6 million to ratepayers and an in-house upgrade to the ozone system at a savings of over $2 million to ratepayers. Helix further used $6.4 million to offset rate increases through the Rate Stabilization Reserve fund, funds from local water runoff and additional capacity fees to fund capital programs.
Prior to the April 26 public hearing, the district sought to educate customers about the proposed changes through extensive outreach and a community meeting. Additional information was provided on the district’s website, HWD.com/rates, along with a bill estimator tool to help customers determine how the new rates would impact them.