COUNTY BACKS OFF ON PIONEERTOWN, MORONGO VALLEY WATER RATE INCREASE

COUNTY BACKS OFF ON PIONEERTOWN, MORONGO VALLEY WATER RATE INCREASE

Last week’s Z107.7 report that water rates in Pioneertown and parts of Morongo Valley would be going up—way, way up—caught many by surprise. Well, ratepayers weren’t the only ones caught by surprise. Reporter Mike Lipsitz has part two of the story and this time there’s a happy ending…
California’s Prop 218 allows consumers to reject water and sewer rate hikes by County Special Districts. Sounds good, but to stop an increase, a majority of those affected must write a letter of protest. Such efforts are rarely successful even when rate increases are in the 80 percent range as were those now proposed. So when County Special Districts received fewer than the needed majority of protests, they announced the increases would go into effect July 1. That was about the time the Board of Supervisors Chairman, Robert Lovingood, began hearing from angry constituents. He took a closer look at the five-year schedule of increases and accompanying data; much of it provided on the day supervisors were expected to approve the plan. And in a move that surprised the Special Districts Department, Supervisors put a one-year hold on any increases during which time the proposed hikes will need to be thoroughly justified. Pioneertown and Morongo Valley water customers can breathe easy, at least for now.

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