TWENTYNINE PALMS — Customers starting or restarting water service from the Twentynine Palms Water District will now have to pay a $200 security deposit before they can get water.

Board members voted 5-0 Wednesday, Jan. 22, to approve a series of recommendations made by a ad hoc committee formed in 2019 to review the district’s fee schedules.

Among other things, the committee recommended raising the district’s security deposit from $75 to $200. A staff report notes that this is approximately equal to two and a half billing cycles or five months of water.

The new deposit will apply to new accounts and current accounts that have been locked off for non-payment. Accounts that have $75 deposits on file will be required to pay an addition $125 deposit to resume services.

The recommendation was made in part because of a new state law adding time and steps to the process required before the district can shut off water service for non-payment.

The committee also recommended doing away with deposit waivers for a good payment history and giving customers the option of splitting deposits into two monthly payments.

Other fee increases approved include:

•    Increasing the fee to open a water service account from $15 to $35.

•    Increasing the fee to rental companies to turn water on for 12 days for cleaning from $10 to $35.

•    Charging a $15 fee for a fire flow letter on fire hydrants and their calculated flows, near property for sale.

•    Increase the after hours water turn on fee from $35 to $70.

•    Add a $10 fee when a termination notice is distributed.

•    Increase reconnect fees, paid after service is cut off for non-payment, from $30 to $50.

•    Increase returned check fee from $25 to $35.

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