Wastewater works

A crew works on the wastewater collection project on Balsa Avenue just north of Twentynine Palms Highway as installation gets started in 2017.

YUCCA VALLEY — Some Hi-Desert Water District customers will be charged for the new sewer system on their monthly water bills starting in the next couple of months, the board of directors decided Wednesday, Sept. 11.

At their regular board meeting, the directors and approved the billing process for sewer service charges, a fee that equates to $42.75 per month for the fiscal year 2019-2020.

The charges, which cover operations and maintenance costs and debt obligations on a loan to construct the system and treatment plant, are expected to appear on bills within the next couple of months as the first customers connect to the new collection system.

“As customers connect to sewer, we need to begin collecting the necessary fees to ensure a smooth transition to the new system and to maintain the financial health of the district,” board Vice President Roger Mayes said in a released statement.

Ultimately, the fee will be charged annually as part of property tax bills for residential properties, but with those properties connecting through the rest of the year, some would miss the annual property tax fillings.

The board voted to collect the assessment on monthly residential water bills until it can be billed through the San Bernardino County assessor’s office.

“This is an exciting time in our community’s history,” Mayes said.

“The new sewer collection system and wastewater reclamation facility are a regional asset that will help us protect our water supply and support the area’s businesses and residents.”

A five-year schedule of sewer rates was established by the board in January 2016 after a public hearing. The rates are based on an independent study that identifies the money necessary to cover the cost of operating and maintaining the sewer system each year.

Rates are scheduled to increase by 3 percent per year through 2022 to cover growing operating costs as more people connect to the wastewater system.

The district has secured millions of dollars in federal, state and local grants, as well as debt forgiveness and low-interest loans to help fund the $150 million project.

Property owners in phase one voted to form an assessment district to finance construction costs.

Private residential connections in the first phase are expected to begin by the end of 2019 and conclude in 2021; phases two and three are expected to be completed by 2025.

(3) comments

Branson Hunter

19.3 percent of Yucca Valley are persons 65 and older. Owner occupied housing rate 62.5%. The poverty rate in Yucca Valley is 21.2%. One out of every 4.7 residents of Yucca Valley lives in poverty. Minimum gross rent (2013-17) $984. Owners cost with a mortgage $1289. Fear and stress is on the minds of residents with limited earning capacity. This is catastrophic for thousands of residents including seniors, veterans, Americans with disabilities, the unemployed, single mothers, and families who get hit hard. You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip, but one out of 4.7 residents will do the impossible. Can we have a moment of silence... .


crazyone

What if you don't use 45 dollars of water.

xrayqueen

Doesn't anyone get it? The HDWD plan is to steal as many low income properties as possible. Get a loan from HDWD your home belong to them for 20 years. An if you should miss a payment to them they own your home.

The sewer program was tailor made for gentrification of desert communities.

I feel like the water company is the real controller of our once beautiful quiet town. Not the mayor or other elected officials.

It seems to be a dark monopoly when our taxes are deducted for sewer, after the fact decisions on sewer, loans for sewer and now a sewer based increase on water bills all facilateted by HDWD.

I've never expierenced a utility company having control over so many money related projects.

I'm beginning to question the legality of it all.

The whole affair makes me sick to my stomach. I might have a for sale sign up in my future. I've had enough.

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